Heart Failure Different in Women
Study Explores Gender Differences in Risk Factors, Survival
Does Gender Affect Treatment Outcomes?
The retrospective analysis suggests that gender may be a factor in the
effectiveness of certain heart failure treatments.
Treatment benefits were seen in women with heart failure who received
beta-blockers, aldosterone antagonists, and pacemakers.
Clear benefits were not seen with other treatments including ACE inhibitors
and implantable defibrillators, but Hsich says this doesn’t mean these
therapies are not useful in women.
“My guess is all these treatments work, but some may not work as well as
they do in men,” she says. “We need more trials with sex-specific data to
figure this out.”
Cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director of New York University’s
Women’s Heart Program and author of several books exploring heart health in
“Clearly we need more studies examining sex-specific differences in
responses to the treatments for heart failure and heart disease in general,”
she tells WebMD.
She says campaigns by the American Heart Association and the National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute have succeeded in raising awareness about the
importance of aggressively treating heart symptoms in women.
But she adds that too little is known about how gender affects heart disease
diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.
“Women need to be asked to participate, and they need to be willing to
participate in clinical trials,” she says. “Even if it doesn’t help them, it
might help their daughters and granddaughters.”