Young Women Have Greater In-hospital Mortality Rates than Young Men in New Jersey Following Heart Attacks

This finding from a sample of more than 423,000 patients can be seen as surprising, given that women, on average, develop their first acute myocardial infarction — or heart attack — about 10 years later than men, and are overall less likely to develop myocardial infarction than are men. The study was published in the July 2010 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Led by John B. Kostis, MD, the John G. Detwiler Chair of Cardiology, chair of the department of medicine, and founding director of The Cardiovascular Institute of New Jersey at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and chief of medical service at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the research team examined a statewide New Jersey database known as Myocardial Infarction Data Acquisition System (MIDAS) that tracks myocardial infarction hospitalizations and coronary heart disease deaths from 1990 to 2004. The team looked at data in four age groups: 35 to 54, 55 to 64, 65 to 74 and greater than age 75.

“During the 15-year period of study, fewer young women (ages 35 to 54) were hospitalized with myocardial infarction than men, however a greater percentage of them died,” said Dr. Kostis.

According to Dr. Kostis, the marked difference of in-hospital deaths of young women compared with young men could be attributed most directly to the fact that a greater percentage of young men died out-of-the-hospital from coronary heart disease.

However the study also indicated that gender-related differences in treatment appeared to play a role in in-hospital deaths of young women versus young men, and that these differences narrowed with each increasing age group. Young women were less likely to undergo invasive cardiovascular procedures, including cardiac catheterization, percutaneous coronary intervention, and coronary artery bypass grafting than young men.

The study also found that mortality rates in the past 15 years have decreased significantly for both young women hospitalized for myocardial infarction and for young men who die from coronary heart disease outside of the hospital.

“Improved education of the risks of heart disease and of its different presentation in men and women has helped us better treat patients and ultimately reduce the mortality rate of young women and men,” Dr. Kostis said.


As one of the nation’s leading comprehensive medical schools, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research, health care delivery, and the promotion of community health. In cooperation with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the medical school’s principal affiliate, they comprise New Jersey’s premier academic medical center. In addition, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has 34 other hospital affiliates and ambulatory care sites throughout the region.

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 600-bed academic medical center and the principal hospital of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ. Robert Wood Johnson is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. RWJUH is the first hospital in the nation to implant the AbioCor self-contained artificial heart since the device received FDA approval in 2006. RWJUH is one of only three sites in the nation approved to offer this groundbreaking technology. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ( The hospital is also a Level 1 Trauma Center and serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness. The hospital has earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is ranked among the top 50 hospitals in the nation for heart and heart surgery (No. 36), cancer (No. 40) and respiratory disorders (No. 50), according to U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 ranking of “America’s Best Hospitals.” The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH among the nation’s best comprehensive cancer centers. The Leapfrog Group rated RWJUH as one of the 50 exceptional U.S. hospitals, as published in Consumers Digest magazine. Harvard University researchers, in a study commissioned by The Commonwealth Fund, identified RWJUH as one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation for clinical quality. RWJUH is also a recipient of the prestigious Magnet Award for Nursing Excellence for more than 10 consecutive years. Visit us online at

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