Women ‘twice as likely to die after heart attack’

Women are more likely than men to die after a heart attack, a study found (Lynne Cameron/PA)© Lynne Cameron

Nina Massey

Women are more than twice as likely to die after a heart attack than men, a new study suggests.

The findings highlight the need for greater awareness of the risks of heart disease in women, researchers say.

According to the study, women aged 55 and below also had to wait 15 minutes longer for treatment after arriving at hospital.

Previous studies have found that women who have a heart attack when a major artery feeding into the heart is completely blocked – ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) – have a worse prognosis during their hospital stay compared with men. Experts suggest this may be because of their older age, increased numbers of other conditions, and stents being used less to open blocked arteries.

Study author Dr Mariana Martinho, of Hospital Garcia de Orta, in Almada, Portugal, said: “Women of all ages who experience a myocardial infarction are at particularly high risk of a poor prognosis.

“These women need regular monitoring after their heart event.

“Smoking levels are rising in young women and this should be tackled, along with promoting physical activity and healthy living.”

The research compared short and long-term outcomes after STEMI in women and men, and looked at whether any sex differences were apparent in premenopausal (55 years and under) and postmenopausal (over 55) women. The study included 884 patients, with an average age of 62 years, and 27pc were women.

Women were older than men (average age 67 versus 60 years) and had higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and prior stroke, researchers found. Men were more likely to be smokers and have coronary artery disease.

While the time between symptoms and treatment with stents did not differ between women and men overall, premenopausal women had a significantly longer treatment delay after arriving at hospital than their male peers – 95 versus 80 minutes.

At 30 days, 11.8pc of women had died compared with 4.6pc of men. At five years, nearly one-third of women (32.1pc) had died compared with 16.9pc of men.

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