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Women With A-Fib Receive Less Heart Care, Suffer More Strokes

Study reflects gender differences in treatment of atrial fibrillation

woman gets physical exam

THURSDAY, June 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women in the United States with atrial fibrillation are more likely than men with the condition to suffer a stroke, according to a study presented at the joint meeting of the European Heart Rhythm Association of the European Society of Cardiology and Cardiostim, held from June 8 to 11 in Nice, France.

The researchers used information from a nationally representative hospitalization database in the United States that holds data on eight million patients admitted to approximately 1,000 randomly selected hospitals in 46 states during 1998 to 2012.

The team found that, across a 15-year period, the rate of stroke hospitalization in patients with atrial fibrillation was 2.64 percent in women and 2.15 percent in men. After adjustment for factors such as age, diabetes, hypertension, previous stroke, and heart failure, the researchers found that the risk was 23 percent higher for women.

"Our findings corroborate the previous evidence that women receive less treatment and support the conclusion that the gender discrepancy is due to inadequate stroke prevention care in women and not biology," researcher Ghanshyam Shantha, M.D., a cardiovascular disease fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, said in a European Society of Cardiology news release. "There is evidence from around the world that women with atrial fibrillation receive less anticoagulation for stroke prevention than they need. Just 30 percent of women who should receive this medication actually get it, compared to nearly 60 percent of men."

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