Study: Among Heart Failure Patients, Women Survive Twice As Long As Men

April 12, 1999

CHAPEL HILL -- For still unknown reasons, women with advanced congestive heart failure survive twice as long as men with the same life-threatening condition, according to a new study. The increased life expectancy among women cannot be attributed to differences between the sexes in medical treatment, the research shows.

Congestive heart failure, in which the weakened heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's oxygen needs, is the only kind of cardiovascular disease increasing steadily in the U.S. population. It affects an estimated 4.6 million Americans.

A report on the research, conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and elsewhere, appears in the April 13 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Authors include lead scientist Dr. Kirkwood F. Adams Jr., associate professor of medicine and radiology; Dr. Carla A. Sueta, assistant professor of medicine, graduate student Todd A. Schwartz; and Dr. Gary G. Koch, professor of biostatistics, all of UNC-CH.

"Our analysis suggests that the trend for increased survival is strongest among a subset of patients - those with congestive heart failure that is not due to ischemia, or lack of blood supply to the heart," said Adams, also director of the School of Medicine's heart failure program.

Ischemic heart failure results from fatty plaque deposits building up in arteries supplying the heart with oxygen and reducing blood flow just as rust in old pipes cuts water flow, the physician said. High blood pressure and other conditions that weaken heart muscle cause a related illness known as non-ischemic heart failure.

Adams and his colleagues tapped data from the Flolan International Randomized Survival Trial (FIRST) to analyze and compare 331 men and 99 women with advanced heart failure. They adjusted for age, gender, medications such as the commonly used dobutamine, physical condition and other factors.

Researchers found that:
    Men with ischemic heart failure were 1.5 times more likely than women to die during the first 18 months of treatment.

    Men with non-ischemic heart failure were three times more likely to die during that period.

    Among patients with congestive heart failure, men more often than women tended to be white.

    Atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," caused heart failure in men more commonly than in women.

    As a group, men tended to have less severe clinical evidence of heart failure than women.

"Several unique aspects of the FIRST study population enhance the likelihood that biological differences are an important cause of the survival difference we observed between males and females," Adams said. "A growing body of evidence points to fundamental gender-related differences in the nature and extent of heart failure."

More studies are needed to pinpoint why the survival differences exist, he said. Such information might help boost survival for both sexes, and for men in particular.

Others involved in the study were Drs. Mihai Gheorghiade of Northwestern University, Christopher M. O'Connor and Robert M. Califf of Duke University, Barry Utretsky of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Karl Swedberg of Ostra University Hospital in Sweden, William McKenna of St. George's Hospital Medical School in London and Jordi Soler-Soler of Vall D'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain.
-end-
Contact: David Williamson
David_Williamson@unc.edu
919-962-8596
Note: Adams can be reached at 919-966-4445.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Related Heart Failure Articles from Brightsurf:

Top Science Tip Sheet on heart failure, heart muscle cells, heart attack and atrial fibrillation results
Newly discovered pathway may have potential for treating heart failure - New research model helps predict heart muscle cells' impact on heart function after injury - New mass spectrometry approach generates libraries of glycans in human heart tissue - Understanding heart damage after heart attack and treatment may provide clues for prevention - Understanding atrial fibrillation's effects on heart cells may help find treatments - New research may lead to therapy for heart failure caused by ICI cancer medication

Machining the heart: New predictor for helping to beat chronic heart failure
Researchers from Kanazawa University have used machine learning to predict which classes of chronic heart failure patients are most likely to experience heart failure death, and which are most likely to develop an arrhythmic death or sudden cardiac death.

Heart attacks, heart failure, stroke: COVID-19's dangerous cardiovascular complications
A new guide from emergency medicine doctors details the potentially deadly cardiovascular complications COVID-19 can cause.

Autoimmunity-associated heart dilation tied to heart-failure risk in type 1 diabetes
In people with type 1 diabetes without known cardiovascular disease, the presence of autoantibodies against heart muscle proteins was associated with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging evidence of increased volume of the left ventricle (the heart's main pumping chamber), increased muscle mass, and reduced pumping function (ejection fraction), features that are associated with higher risk of failure in the general population

Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure
A randomized controlled study recently published in the Hypertension issue of Ethnicity & Disease found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls.

Beta blocker use identified as hospitalization risk factor in 'stiff heart' heart failure
A new study links the use of beta-blockers to heart failure hospitalizations among those with the common 'stiff heart' heart failure subtype.

Type 2 diabetes may affect heart structure and increase complications and death among heart failure patients of Asian ethnicity
The combination of heart failure and Type 2 diabetes can lead to structural changes in the heart, poorer quality of life and increased risk of death, according to a multi-country study in Asia.

Preventive drug therapy may increase right-sided heart failure risk in patients who receive heart devices
Patients treated preemptively with drugs to reduce the risk of right-sided heart failure after heart device implantation may experience the opposite effect and develop heart failure and post-operative bleeding more often than patients not receiving the drugs.

How the enzyme lipoxygenase drives heart failure after heart attacks
Heart failure after a heart attack is a global epidemic leading to heart failure pathology.

Novel heart pump shows superior outcomes in advanced heart failure
Severely ill patients with advanced heart failure who received a novel heart pump -- the HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD) -- suffered significantly fewer strokes, pump-related blood clots and bleeding episodes after two years, compared with similar patients who received an older, more established pump, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 68th Annual Scientific Session.

Read More: Heart Failure News and Heart Failure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.