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Less Heart Disease Diagnosed in Women Before Arrest

Structural heart disease diagnosis less common in women before sudden cardiac arrest

TUESDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Women who experience sudden cardiac death are much less likely than men to have been diagnosed with structural heart disease, according to a study in the Nov. 24 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Sumeet S. Chugh, M.D., from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined sex-related risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest among 1,568 adult cases of sudden cardiac arrest (36 percent women and 64 percent men).

After adjusting for factors such as age and clinical variables, the researchers found that women had a lower likelihood of severe left ventricular dysfunction (odds ratio, 0.51) and a lower likelihood of a previous diagnosis of coronary artery disease (odds ratio, 0.34) as a precursor to sudden cardiac death. Men and women had a similar prevalence of obesity, left ventricular hypertrophy, dyslipidemia, history of myocardial infarction, and history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.

"Women were significantly less likely than men to have a diagnosis of structural heart disease (left ventricular dysfunction or coronary artery disease) before sudden cardiac arrest," Chugh and colleagues conclude. "These findings suggest that fewer women may be eligible for prophylactic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placement based on current guidelines and therefore may not have equal opportunity for prevention."

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