- The annual Go Red for Women issue of Circulation explores some of the unique challenges that females with heart disease face.
- One of the studies published in the special issue reveals that females are less likely to survive after a cardiac arrest in the community.
- Research Goes Red, a new American Heart Association (AHA) campaign, aims to encourage more female patients to take part in clinical trials.
While the incidence of CVD in females is usually lower than in males, research also suggests that females tend to have a higher mortality rate and worse prognosis following an acute cardiovascular event.
Every February, the AHA journal
“By publishing some of the best science on cardiovascular disease in women, our hope is that this issue of Circulationwill catalyze the conduct of transformative and disruptive research in this area,” said the journal’s Editor-in-Chief Dr. Joseph A. Hill.
Dr. Hill is chief of cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Harry S. Moss Heart Center, both in Dallas, TX.
The researchers found that among individuals who were resuscitated following a cardiac arrest in the community, 22.5% of females, compared with 36.3% of males, survived until discharge from the hospital.
This disparity was greatest among patients who were judged to have a better prognosis after admission to the hospital.
On a more positive note, the special issue also features research that suggests the gap may be narrowing in some areas.
Between 2008 and 2017, one
The researchers found that rates of recurrent MI, coronary heart disease events, hospitalization for heart failure, and all-cause mortality declined considerably in this study population.
There were larger relative reductions in these events for females than for males.
Compared with warfarin, which is the standard anticoagulant treatment, high doses of edoxaban were associated with a lower risk of stroke and bleeding in females than in males.
There was also good news from researchers studying outcomes for females following surgery for atrial fibrillation.
Previous, less rigorous studies had suggested that females were more likely than males to experience complications from a surgery known as catheter ablation.
The researchers found no clinically significant sex difference in the risks of surgery. In addition, both males and females were less likely to experience a recurrence of atrial fibrillation if they had the surgery, compared with drug therapy.
An article in the February 2021 issue of the AHA journal
“The underrepresentation of [females] in clinical trials is a commonly recognized and seemingly intractable problem in many different areas of clinical medicine. Discrepancies in the enrollment of [females] in clinical trials raises concerns about the generalizability of trial evidence, as well as the potential for reduced access and utilization of new therapies in [females].”
Among the possible reasons for lower participation in trials, the authors cite female patients’ attitudes and belief, “resulting in less interest and more refusals in [females].”
To help redress the imbalance, the AHA have launched a public awareness campaign called Research Goes Red in collaboration with Verily Life Sciences. The campaign aims to empower more females to take part in cardiovascular clinical trials.
Find a summary of Circulation‘s 2020 “Go Red for Women” here.