Women Underrepresented as Cardiac Electrophysiology Operators

Proportion of women is stagnant from 2013 to 2019, even with major clinical growth in atrial fibrillation ablation

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FRIDAY, April 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Women cardiac electrophysiology (EP) operators remain significantly underrepresented, according to a study published in the May issue of Heart Rhythm.

Stacey J. Howell, M.D., from University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues assessed temporal and geographical trends in the proportion of women EP operators. The analysis included data extracted from the Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Database (2013 to 2019).

The researchers found that on average annually, 5 percent of the 3,524 EP operators were women. A similarly low proportion of women EP operators was seen across each procedure type. During the study period, there was a 137 percent increase in the total number of atrial fibrillation ablationists, yet the proportion of women remained unchanged. The numbers remained constant for supraventricular tachycardia/atrial flutter ablationists and device operators, as did the proportion of women operators. Ten states had no women EP operators who performed more than 10 of any given EP procedure annually in 2019 and no women device operators who performed more than 10 of any given type of device implantation annually.

"We hope that by better defining the gender disparity in electrophysiology, our study can highlight the need to recruit and retain more women in this subspeciality," Howell said in a statement.

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