Sex differences in medical care and early death after acute myocardial infarction

Circulation. 2008 Dec 16;118(25):2803-10. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.789800. Epub 2008 Dec 8.


Background: Women receive less evidence-based medical care than men and have higher rates of death after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). It is unclear whether efforts undertaken to improve AMI care have mitigated these sex disparities in the current era.

Methods and results: Using the Get With the Guidelines-Coronary Artery Disease database, we examined sex differences in care processes and in-hospital death among 78 254 patients with AMI in 420 US hospitals from 2001 to 2006. Women were older, had more comorbidities, less often presented with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), and had higher unadjusted in-hospital death (8.2% versus 5.7%; P<0.0001) than men. After multivariable adjustment, sex differences in in-hospital mortality rates were no longer observed in the overall AMI cohort (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=1.04; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.10) but persisted among STEMI patients (10.2% versus 5.5%; P<0.0001; adjusted OR=1.12; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.23). Compared with men, women were less likely to receive early aspirin treatment (adjusted OR=0.86; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.90), early beta-blocker treatment (adjusted OR=0.90; 95% CI, 0.86 to 0.93), reperfusion therapy (adjusted OR=0.75; 95% CI, 0.70 to 0.80), or timely reperfusion (door-to-needle time </=30 minutes: adjusted OR=0.78; 95% CI, 0.65 to 0.92; door-to-balloon time </=90 minutes: adjusted OR=0.87; 95% CI, 0.79 to 0.95). Women also experienced lower use of cardiac catheterization and revascularization procedures after AMI.

Conclusions: Overall, no sex differences in in-hospital mortality rates after AMI were observed after multivariable adjustment. However, women with STEMI had higher adjusted mortality rates than men. The underuse of evidence-based treatments and delayed reperfusion among women represent potential opportunities for reducing sex disparities in care and outcome after AMI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality / trends*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality*
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Registries
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Treatment Outcome