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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 women, agrees.

“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.”

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