Objective: To examine the effect of gender differences among older adults hospitalized for an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) on subsequent health outcomes.
Design: Secondary analysis of the Longitudinal Study on Aging. Data from baseline interviews (1984) and three biennial (1986, 1988, and 1990) re-interviews were linked to Medicare hospitalization and National Death Index records for 1984-1991.
Participants: A total of 6071 community-dwelling adults aged 70 years or older at baseline.
Methods: Pooled and stratified multivariable models were used to examine gender differences in the independent effects of being hospitalized for an AMI on all-cause mortality, the risk and volume of subsequent hospitalization, and increases in the number of functional limitations. Two comparison groups were used.
Results: Three hundred fifty-seven AMI cases (6%; 172 women and 185 men) were compared with 3976 hospitalized controls and 1738 nonhospitalized controls. The risk of all-cause mortality for AMI cases was greater than that for either hospitalized controls or nonhospitalized controls (referent), and this increased risk was significantly (P < .001) stronger for women (adjusted hazards ratio (AHR) = 14.24, 95%CI = 10.99, 18.46) than for men (AHR = 9.91, 95%CI = 7.75, 12.67). Overall, AMI cases were also more likely to be hospitalized subsequently than the hospitalized controls (referent; adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.47, 95%CI = 1.17, 1.85), although in the stratified analysis this association held for men (AOR = 1.73, 95%CI = 1.25, 2.41) but not for women (AOR = 1.25, 95%CI = .90, 1.73). Among those subsequently hospitalized, both women and men AMI cases consumed more hospital resources than the hospitalized controls, and there were gender differences suggesting that the effects on total charges and length of stay were greater for women than for men with AMI. Finally, although the AMI cases had greater adjusted mean increases in the number of instrumental activities of daily living limitations and lower body limitations than the nonhospitalized controls, they were no worse off than the hospitalized controls, and there were no gender differences in those effects.
Conclusion: Relative to the appropriate comparison groups, hospitalization for an AMI increases the risk of death and the total costs and lengths of stay of subsequent hospitalizations for women more than for men. Therefore, increased primary prevention, diagnosis, and treatment efforts should be directed toward women.