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Heart care for women 'inadequate'

14th November 2007

A UK survey has revealed that emergency care for female heart failure patients has fallen behind that which is offered to men.

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In research published in the journal Heart, researchers found that female patients were less likely to receive recommended investigations such as ultrasound scans and drug treatment, like beta blockers. They were also less likely to be given treatment to prevent a worsening of their symptoms when they left hospital.

The study looked at about 9,500 emergency admissions and one of the researchers, Professor Martin Cowie from Imperial College London, said: “Women are getting a worse deal than their male counterparts.

“There is a general perception, both among women themselves and the doctors that look after them that women are less likely to have heart problems, and if they do they are less likely to be as serious as they are in a man.?

But he warned that with the risk being similar for both sexes, symptoms in a woman need to be taken just as seriously and treated as they would be in a man.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said medical decisions based primarily on gender or age and not on clinical effectiveness had no place in a 21st century NHS.

A Department of Health spokesperson: “As women continue to live longer than men, more of them are presenting with heart disease. It is important that health services recognise this, and ensure that men and women alike receive treatment in line with best practice.?

 

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