The multicenter study, which evaluated 3,265 patients between January 2005 and May 2008, collected patient data for women who underwent pulmonary vein antrum isolation, a form of catheter ablation. The research was initiated due to the paucity of information for such procedures among women. Previous studies also have reported gender disparities in the use of certain cardiovascular technologies – such as implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, and cardiovascular diagnostic testing.
Researchers found that female patients failed ablation procedures at a higher rate than males (31.5 percent vs. 22.5 percent), and also incurred uncomfortable complications at nearly double the rate in some instances. When compared to male patients who underwent the same procedure, the research indicates females have a higher rate of non paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and extra pulmonary veins firing. In addition females had a higher incidence of bleeding complications, hematomas and pseudoaneurysms.
“Most atrial fibrillation studies have consisted predominately of male patients, and, accordingly, there is a real lack of information about the safety and efficacy of catheter ablation for females,” said Andrea Natale, M.D., FHRS, executive medical director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. “The work ahead is to pinpoint why female patients are more likely to delay this procedure and to work with doctors to develop a better patient dialogue and treatment strategy.”
One possibility researchers say could explain the disparity is the age at which female patients undergo invasive treatment for atrial fibrillation. In the study, females referred for ablation tended to be older and had failed more antiarrhythmic agents, suggesting an apprehension toward catheter ablation. Experts involved in the study believe success rates for female patients may improve if ablation is performed earlier in treatment, an intervention that may be helped along by greater understanding of women’s heart health needs in the medical community.
In recognition of Heart Health Month in February, the Heart Rhythm Society urges all Americans to take an active role in the education and understanding of heart health issues. Heart disease affects both men and women, and more than 41 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Join the Heart Rhythm Society’s effort to build awareness of heart health issues by encouraging the women in your life to speak with their doctor about warning signs, risk factors and heart healthy living.
For more information about this study, please visit www.heartrhythmjournal.com.
About HeartRhythm Journal
HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, provides rapid publication of the most important science developments in the field of arrhythmias and cardiovascular electrophysiology (EP). As the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, HeartRhythm publishes both basic and clinical subject matter of scientific excellence devoted to the EP of the heart and blood vessels, as well as therapy. The journal is the only EP publication serving the entire electrophysiology community from basic to clinical academic researchers, private practitioners, technicians, industry and trainees. HeartRhythm has an impact factor of 4.444 (as of 2008) and ranks 11th out of 78 cardiovascular medicine journals worldwide by the Institute for Scientific Information, remaining the #1 specialty journal in cardiology. Additionally, the journal ranks seventh in the Immediacy Index among cardiology publications. It is also the official publication of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.
Contact: Kennesha Baldwin
Heart Rhythm Society