Women Benefit More than Men with New Heart Device

Research has shown that women are not treated as aggressively as men after a heart attack or stroke.   A new study has found that women benefit more than men from a device that improves the heart’s pumping ability and corrects abnormal heart rhythms.  The new device combines cardiac resynchronization therapy with an implanted defibrillator.  The study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that the device was linked to a 70% reduction in heart failure in women vs. 35% reduction in men who were in the study.   This study identified three factors to account for the unexpected findings in women:

  • Women are more likely to have non-ischemic cardiomyopathy (heart disease not cause by artery blockage)
  • Women in this study were more likely to have a condition called left bundle branch block, and
  • Women have smaller hearts.

These three factors are shown to respond well to cardiac resynchronization which uses electrical impulses to make the heart pump more efficiently.   Furthermore, an implanted defibrillator monitors the heart and delivers a shock if there is a irregular heart beat.

Further study is needed but this study demonstrates the importance of looking at gender differences when studying heart disease.