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Heart Failure Death Rates Higher in Women

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Jul 2018
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Image: A new study shows that mortality due to heart failure is higher in women (Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos).
Image: A new study shows that mortality due to heart failure is higher in women (Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos).
A new study reveals that death rates from heart failure (HF) are higher for women than men, as are hospitalization rates.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (Canada) and the University of Toronto (Canada) conducted a population-based study among all Ontario province residents diagnosed with HF between April 1, 2009, and March 31, 2014, in order to examine sex differences in incidence, mortality, and hospital admission due to HF within one year of diagnosis. Incident cases were captured through physician billing, and study outcomes included mortality and hospital admission for HF.

Of the 90,707 diagnoses of HF made in ambulatory settings during the study period, 47% were women. Women were more likely to be older, more frail, have a lower income, and have multiple and different comorbidities than men. Within one year of follow-up after the diagnosis, 16.8% of women and 14.9% of men had died. The mortality rate decreased in both sexes over the years, but remained higher in women than men. Female mortality rate was 8.9% in 2009 and 8.5% in 2013, versus male mortality rates of 8.8% in 2009 and 8.3% in 2013.

The incidence of new HF decreased during the study period in both sexes, and was lowest in 2011 and 2012, beginning to rise again the following year. Hospitalization rates for women also surpassed those for men, with 9.8% of women hospitalized in 2013, compared with 9.1% in men the same year. The researchers suggest that further studies should focus on sex differences in health-seeking behavior, medical therapy, and response to therapy in order to provide guidance for personalized care. The study was published on July 13, 2018, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

“Despite modern advances in heart failure therapy, we found that mortality from heart failure remains high, especially in women; that hospital admissions for heart failure decreased in men but increased in women; and that women and men had different associated comorbidities,” concluded lead author Louise Sun, MD, of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and colleagues. “Interestingly, we also found a correlation of hypertension with lower mortality risk in both sexes, and a correlation of MI with lower mortality risk only in men.”

Heart failure is characterized by the heart’s inability to pump an adequate supply of blood to the body. Without sufficient blood flow, all major body functions are disrupted. The most common cause of HF is coronary artery disease (CAD), a disorder that causes narrowing of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.

Related Links:
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
University of Toronto

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