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Wednesday | 9.20.2017
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Women Fare Worse Than Men in Treatment of Heart Disease

Women are faring worse than men in treatment of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of U.S. women, a new study shows.
Released by HealthGrades, an independent source of physician information and hospital quality ratings, the study found notable disparities in the treatment and outcomes of male and female patients at U.S. hospitals.
The most significant differences identified were in the area of cardiovascular care, with only one-third of female heart-attack patients receiving lifesaving surgical interventions compared with nearly half of male patients. Of those women who did undergo heart surgery or angioplasty, HealthGrades found a 30% higher death rate compared with men.
The findings are based on an analysis of more than five million Medicare patient records from 2007 to 2009 and focused on 16 of the most common procedures and diagnoses among women.
HealthGrades’ “Women’s Health in American Hospitals” report also identified those hospitals performing in the top 5% nationwide for women’s health. A list of the Women’s Health Excellence Award recipient hospitals, by city, can be found at www.HealthGrades.com.
“Much work remains to be done to better understand the differences between men’s and women’s health” said Dr. Rick May, the report’s co-author and HealthGrades vice president of clinical quality services. “But many providers are successfully implementing systems of care to more accurately diagnose and treat disease in women,” he said. “Women have a choice when it comes to where they seek medical care. The HealthGrades Women’s Health Excellence Award recipient hospitals have set an example in providing superior care to the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters in their communities.”

With National Women’s Health Week (May 8-14) in mind, HealthGrades encourages women of all ages to educate themselves about their bodies, health and lifestyle changes proven to reduce the risk of serious, chronic disease.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America, surpassing all forms of cancer combined. HealthGrades Women’s Health in American Hospitals includes detailed information on how to recognize the risks and symptoms of that disease and take proactive steps to fight it.
Key findings of the HealthGrades report include these:

  • Compared with those treated at poor-performing hospitals, female patients at Women’s Health Excellence Award hospitals had a 40.56% lower risk-adjusted mortality across nine cardiac, pulmonary and vascular-based diagnoses and procedures and a 16.13% lower risk-adjusted rate of complications across five orthopedic procedures.
  • An additional 41,025 women over the age of 65 could have potentially survived their hospitalizations, and 8,558 could have avoided a major complication if all hospitals had performed at the level of HealthGrades Women’s Health Excellence Award recipient hospitals.
  • For treatment of heart attack in 2009, only one-third of women received a cardiac surgical intervention compared to almost half of men (33.5% and 45.6%, respectively).
  • Among heart-attack patients receiving a cardiac intervention, such as coronary-bypass surgery or angioplasty, women had a 30% higher death rate compared with men.
  • Women make up a higher percentage of admissions for hip-fracture repair than men; this has remained unchanged from 2005 to 2009 (74% for women, 26% for men).

About the Study

In this analysis, HealthGrades independently and objectively analyzed Medicare patient records from fiscal years 2007 through 2009. To be included in the analysis, hospitals must have met minimum thresholds in terms of patient volumes, quality ratings and the range of services provided. Individuals may compare their local hospitals online at HealthGrades.com. HealthGrades’ hospital ratings are independently created; no hospital can opt in or opt out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated.


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