The study reveals that the reason women have a greater risk of stroke than men hospitalization not due to biology.
“There is a debate about whether it is biology and naturally in some women that predisposes Career or if the providers of health care are failing to provide adequate care,” says Dr. Ghanshyam Shantha, cardiovascular disease fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
Today the new study will be presented at Cardiostim EHRA EUROPACE 2016, an international conference to be held in Nice, France.
According to Dr. Shantha, evidence from around the world indicates that women with atrial fibrillation (AF) receive less treatment for stroke prevention than they need; while 60 percent of men who should receive anticoagulation achieve this, only 30 percent of women do.
AF is an irregular heartbeat that can cause blood clots, stroke, congestive heart heart , and other complications. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 2.7 million Americans live with AF today.
Approximately 15-20 percent of people with stroke have AF. In fact, AF doubles the risk of heart-related causes and four times and five times increased risk of stroke deaths, but many people with AF are not aware that this is a serious illness.
‘gender gap is not due to biology’
Dr. Shantha said that we know that women do not receive advanced treatments AF at the same level as men, but adds that what is unknown “is whether these deficiencies in access to care translate into poorer outcomes.”
As such, the new study examined whether gender affects the rate of hospitalization for ischemic stroke in patients with AF.
Using data from the National Inpatient Sample – which has data 1998-2012 8 million patients admitted to hospitals 1,000 in 46 states – the researchers examined the 1.1 million patients who were admitted to the hospital diagnosed with AF.
During the period of 15 years, the rate of hospitalization of stroke in patients with AF was 2.64 percent in women and 2.15 percent in men.
The results showed that, after adjusting for risk factors for stroke, such as age, diabetes, hypertension, previous stroke, and heart failure accident, women had a 23 percent higher risk hospitalization of stroke than men.
Interestingly, despite treatments for AF have improved over the past 15 years, researchers found that women consistently had a risk of stroke hospitalization greater than men. In the period 1998-2002, women had a 27 percent higher risk; in the period 2003-2007, they had a 23 percent greater risk; and during the period 2008-2012, they had a 22 percent higher risk.
In addition, the team found that women had a higher risk of stroke compared with men, regardless of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or region. “However you slice it, dice, and the data is divided, women become poorer than men in terms of admissions for acute ischemic stroke,” says Dr. Shantha.
“Our findings corroborate previous results evidence that women receive less treatment and support the conclusion that the gender gap is due to the care of stroke prevention in biology inadequate and not women.”
Dr. Ghanshyam Shantha
He added that their findings are important for policy decisions and resource allocation, although it requires more investigation “into why many women do not receive evidence-based care.”