Are we using cardiovascular medications and coronary angiography appropriately in men and women with chest pain?

Eur Heart J. 2011 Jun;32(11):1331-6. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehr009. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Aims: The main purpose of the present study was to analyse the contemporary use of cardiovascular medications and diagnostic coronary angiography in men and women with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD). Furthermore, we examined the association of outcomes (death, myocardial infarction, repeat coronary angiography, procedural complications) with angiographic findings.

Methods: All patients with stable chest pain (n = 12 200) referred for a first-time elective diagnostic coronary angiography during 2006-08 and registered in the Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Register (SCAAR) were included. Significant CAD was defined as ≥ 50% luminal narrowing in any epicardial coronary artery.

Results: In the youngest age group (≤ 59 years), more women than men (78.8 vs. 42.3%, P< 0.001) had normal/non-significant CAD, whereas more men had either left-main or three-vessel disease (18.2 vs. 4.2%, P < 0.001). Event rates were similarly low for men and women with normal/non-significant CAD, except for a higher procedural complication rate in women. Prior to angiography, fewer women than men with high-risk features were prescribed aspirin (83 vs. 86.1%, P = 0.001).

Conclusion: In women, normal/non-significant CAD was highly prevalent, especially among younger women, and associated cardiovascular event rates were low. In men, findings of advanced disease were more common than in women, even younger men. Fewer high-risk women than men were initially prescribed aspirin. The observed sex differences suggest a need for improved identification of women appropriate for investigation with coronary angiography, earlier diagnostics in men, and heightened attention in the evidence-based use of aspirin in risk patients, especially women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Angina, Stable / diagnostic imaging
  • Angina, Stable / etiology*
  • Angina, Stable / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Angiography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Stenosis / drug therapy*
  • Coronary Stenosis / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Retreatment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Unnecessary Procedures


  • Cardiovascular Agents