ATLANTA (Reuters) - When it comes to matters of the heart, women should be treated more like men.
A large study found that among patients admitted to the hospital for a heart attack, women were far less likely than men to get angiography to find vessel blockages or angioplasty to clear them.
Women were about twice as likely as men to die within a month of a heart attack, the study said.
"This suggests that we could reduce mortality in female patients by using more invasive procedures," said Dr. Francois Schiele, chief cardiologist at the University Hospital of Besancon, France.
Schiele, who presented the research at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Atlanta, said women should be treated with all recommended strategies, including invasive ones.
Some earlier studies have also suggested that women have a higher risk of death after a heart attack than men, but it is unclear why. Biological differences might explain it, researchers said, but there were also substantial differences in the treatment regimens women received.
Researchers analyzed data from a registry that included more than 3,500 patients who were treated for heart attacks between January 2006 and December 2007.
The women, who made up almost one-third of the patients, were nine years older than the men on average and had more health problems.
In most major heart studies, the majority of patients have been men, leaving women an understudied population.
The French study, sponsored by European drugmakers including GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis, found women received fewer effective treatments for heart attack. Women were almost twice as likely to die during the initial hospital stay and during the following month.
The study showed that men were 57 percent more likely to get angiography, in which blood vessels are injected with dye so that blockages are visible on an X-ray.
Reporting by Debra Sherman and Bill Berkrot; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn