Women's Heart Advisor July 2009 Issue

Understand Women’s Risks with Revascularization Procedures

Here’s why you should take modifiable risk factors to heart.

By now you should know the modifiable risk factors for heart disease: smoking, obesity, inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. These risk factors not only increase the risk of heart attack, but studies suggest they may also increase the risk a woman will die from coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)—procedures designed to improve blood flow to the heart muscle. A retrospective study of 976 patients—one-third of them female—who underwent CABG found that the women were more likely than the men to have diabetes or hypertension, and be overweight, older, or African-American. These risk factors, in addition to smoking and recent heart attack, increased the risk of in-hospital complications or death from the procedure. In this study, published in the April issue of Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, the mortality rate for women undergoing CABG was 5.5 percent, as compared with 1.86 percent for men.

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