July 3, 2024

Study: Secondary conditions go unaddressed in female heart surgery patients

Editor's Note

Female patients undergoing heart surgery are less likely than male patients to have concomitant procedures—that is, having additional ailments addressed during cardiac procedures—despite guidelines recommending such treatments, according to two studies led by Michigan Medicine. News-Medical.Net reported the news June 28.

The first study, involving over 5,000 patients with atrial fibrillation (Afib) undergoing heart bypass or aortic valve replacement, found that women were 26% less likely than men to have their Afib corrected during surgery, News-Medical.Net reports. This disparity persisted after adjusting for demographics and comorbidities. While 67% of male patients received the simultaneous Afib procedure, only 59% of female patients did. Afib, a common comorbidity in cardiac surgery, poses a higher stroke risk for women.

According to the article, the second study examined nearly 400 patients undergoing mitral valve surgery who also had significant tricuspid valve regurgitation. It found that women were 52% less likely to receive tricuspid valve repair during their mitral surgery. Three-quarters of male patients had the repair done compared to 57% of female patients. Female patients were more likely to experience severe tricuspid regurgitation or require valve-related reoperation within four years.

The studies suggest that perceived higher risks among female patients may contribute to their undertreatment, although women had a lower predicted risk of death compared to men, News-Medical.Net reports. The authors advocate for equitable use of guideline-recommended treatments and suggest that quality measures for simultaneous procedures could improve care for women undergoing heart surgery.

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