Reperfusion and revascularization strategies for coronary artery disease in women.
OBJECTIVE: One third of all deaths in women in the United States each year are attributable to coronary heart disease. Gender differences exist in the course and management of patients with coronary heart disease. Few randomized trials have been conducted in women to evaluate effective therapeutic strategies. With the aim of developing rational approaches to women with coronary heart disease, we review gender-related outcomes with coronary revascularization and reperfusion therapies. DATA SOURCE: English-language journal articles and reviews on the subject of women with coronary heart disease or gender-specific responses to coronary heart disease management, from 1970 through 1992, identified through MEDLINE searching. STUDY SELECTION: Selected studies included only randomized controlled trials for topics related to thrombolysis, and articles considered to contribute significantly to the topic of women with coronary artery disease in the case of angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers participated in extracting the data with the aim of presenting a balanced and comprehensive review of the subject. DATA SYNTHESIS: Thrombolysis in acute myocardial infarction reduces mortality in men and women, although women may have a reduced mortality benefit compared with men. Angioplasty and the newer interventional devices result in greater procedural morbidity but similar if not better long-term outcomes in women. Women may have a greater mortality rate than men with coronary artery bypass surgery, although studies suggest that outcome after bypass surgery may depend more on coronary size and preoperative risk factors than on gender itself. CONCLUSIONS: The existence of gender differences in the course of coronary heart disease and response to revascularization and reperfusion strategies suggests the need for unique clinical approaches to the female patient with coronary heart disease and stresses the importance of developing randomized trials that enroll adequate numbers of women and that are designed to answer gender-specific questions.
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