Women die more often than men from heart disease because they are not systematically given the same treatment and tests, according to a French study unveiled on Tuesday.
The study, carried out on 3 000 women in the French region of Franche-Comte in 2006 and 2007, found that those hospitalised after suffering a cardiac attack were less frequently given an angiograph to study the heart's vessels.
The technique involves dilating a coronary artery, and often a small stent is then inserted to keep the artery open.
But this is not carried out as frequently on women heart patients, meaning they had twice the risk of dying than their male counterparts in the 30 days after suffering a heart attack.
"This suggests that we could reduce mortality in female patients by using more invasive procedures," said Francois Schiele, head of cardiology at the University Hospital of Besancon, speaking on the sidelines of an annual conference of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta.
"When there are no clear contradictions, women should be treated with all recommended strategies, including invasive strategies.
"The main question we tried to answer with this study was whether the difference in mortality between women and men after a heart attack is explained by differences in management." - (Sapa/AFP, March 2010)