Duke researchers highlight gender differences in heart failure

November 14, 2006

DURHAM, N.C. -- Women tend to live longer with heart failure than do men, and they also tend to have a less severe form of the disease, which is characterized by reduced performance of the heart muscle, according to a study by Duke University Medical Center cardiologists.

Having a better understanding of gender differences in heart failure may help physicians to more effectively tailor prevention or treatment strategies to specific patients, the researchers said, adding that studies to date have provided relatively little insight into such differences.

"There is limited data available to help us understand the differences between the genders when it comes to the causes of heart failure and how patients fare with the disease," said cardiology fellow Camille Frazier, M.D., who presented the results of the study on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the annual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association, in Chicago.

"As we uncovered in our analysis, there are important differences between men and women who have heart failure," Frazier added. "These differences not only point to fertile areas for future research, but can help us to deliver better quality care to our patients."

The study was supported by Duke's Division of Cardiology.

Heart failure is a condition marked by the inability of the heart muscle to pump enough blood to the body's tissues. Despite its name, not everyone with the disease dies immediately, and many people live for years. It is estimated that 50 percent of heart failure patients die within five years of initial diagnosis.

In their analysis, Frazier and colleagues studied the two most common forms of heart failure: ischemic and nonischemic. In the ischemic form, an individual's heart muscle is either damaged or killed over time as blood flow to the heart is reduced, usually by a blockage in the coronary arteries, and the heart is deprived of its needed supply of oxygen. This condition frequently leads to a heart attack. In the nonischemic form, the individual has had no prior history of severe coronary artery disease and has not experienced a heart attack.

The team pooled the data from five clinical trials in which participants received drugs to treat heart failure. In total, the trials included 11,642 patients, approximately 24 percent of whom were women.

The women tended to be older and more ethnically diverse than the men, and they had greater incidences of diabetes and high blood pressure, the researchers said. The women also tended to report more symptoms and to be hospitalized more often than men.

"In general, women and heart disease has not been well studied, and heart failure has been even more poorly studied," said Pam Douglas, chief of cardiovascular medicine at Duke, past president of the American College of Cardiology and senior member of the study team. "We didn't have good evidence for what the gender differences might be, because the numbers of women involved in trials have been so small.

"In our current study, we were able to obtain larger numbers by combining data from the five different trials," Douglas added. "Knowing more about the gender differences will help us make decisions about treatment, such as how aggressively to follow patients or which medication would be the most effective."

Among all of the patients in the combined study pool, 2,400 of them died, Frazier said. Of the patients with ischemic heart failure who died, 18.6 percent were women and 20.9 percent were men. Among patients with nonischemic heart failure who died, 18.2 percent were women and 21.9 percent were men.

"Our data demonstrated that women had better survival rates than men, and patients with nonischemic heart failure fared better than patients with ischemic heart failure," Frazier said.
-end-
Other researchers who participated in the study were Karen Alexander, Kristin Newby, Milton Packer, Jay Cohn, Sidney Goldstein, Ake Hjalmarson, Susan Anderson and Erik Iverson.

Duke University Medical Center

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.