Sex and gender differences in presentation, treatment and outcomes in acute coronary syndrome, a 10 year study from a multi-ethnic Asian population: The Malaysian National Cardiovascular Disease Database-Acute Coronary Syndrome (NCVD-ACS) registry

PLoS One. 2021 Feb 8;16(2):e0246474. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0246474. eCollection 2021.


Background: Sex and gender differences in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) have been well studied in the western population. However, limited studies have examined the trends of these differences in a multi-ethnic Asian population.

Objectives: To study the trends in sex and gender differences in ACS using the Malaysian NCVD-ACS Registry.

Methods: Data from 24 hospitals involving 35,232 ACS patients (79.44% men and 20.56% women) from 1st. Jan 2012 to 31st. Dec 2016 were analysed. Data were collected on demographic characteristics, coronary risk factors, anthropometrics, treatments and outcomes. Analyses were done for ACS as a whole and separately for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), Non-STEMI and unstable angina. These were then compared to published data from March 2006 to February 2010 which included 13,591 ACS patients (75.8% men and 24.2% women).

Results: Women were older and more likely to have diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, previous heart failure and renal failure than men. Women remained less likely to receive aspirin, beta-blocker, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) and statin. Women were less likely to undergo angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) despite an overall increase. In the STEMI cohort, despite a marked increase in presentation with Killip class IV, women were less likely to received primary PCI or fibrinolysis and had longer median door-to-needle and door-to-balloon time compared to men, although these had improved. Women had higher unadjusted in-hospital, 30-Day and 1-year mortality rates compared to men for the STEMI and NSTEMI cohorts. After multivariate adjustments, 1-year mortality remained significantly higher for women with STEMI (adjusted OR: 1.31 (1.09-1.57), p<0.003) but were no longer significant for NSTEMI cohort.

Conclusion: Women continued to have longer system delays, receive less aggressive pharmacotherapies and invasive treatments with poorer outcome. There is an urgent need for increased effort from all stakeholders if we are to narrow this gap.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / therapy
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Asian People
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Data Management
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Aspirin

Grant support

The National Cardiovascular Disease Database-Acute Coronary Syndrome (NCVD-ACS) Registry is funded by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH), URL: and the National Heart Association of Malaysia (NHAM), URL: The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.