Women Benefit Less from Implantable Defibrillators

Study questions use of ICDs as primary method for preventing fatal arrhythmias in women

WEDNESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Women who receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) have significantly lower survival rates than their male counterparts, according to research presented this week at the American College of Cardiology conference in Atlanta.

Nickole N. Henyan, Pharm.D., of Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of five primary prevention ICD trials that met the following criteria: controlled trial versus standard of care, ICD as primary prevention, and available data on risk of death for both male and female patients.

The researchers found that the risk of death from any cause was reduced by 29 percent in male patients who received ICD therapy compared to controls (adjusted hazard ratio 0.71) but not among female patients (HR 0.86). Overall, men with ICDs were 28 percent less likely to die of any cause, while women were only 7 percent less likely.

"This study strongly illustrates that ICDs are not the ideal primary prevention method for treating potentially fatal arrhythmias in women," Henyan said in a statement. "Special attention needs to be paid to women's health, especially in examining new ways to help them achieve the same survival success rate as male patients."


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