‘Being a woman’ not a risk factor for faster death post heart surgery

being a woman not a risk factor to post surgery death
Photo Credit: Catharina Ziekenhuis

Both men and women get cardiovascular diseases. Although their treatments are the same, there are differences. For example, heart attacks among men are twice as common as among women. And women are more likely to have strokes and heart failure.

“But that women are more likely to die after bypass surgery or aortic valve replacement, just because they are women, is not true,” says cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Joost ter Woorst of the Catharina Hospital.

This is the most important conclusion from a study among more than 20,000 patients at the Catharina Cardiovascular Center. Wednesday, December 16, Ter Woorst will obtain his PhD on this subject at Maastricht University.

Ter Woorst studied whether the risk of dying after bypass surgery or aortic valve replacement, is higher in women than in men just because they are women. “As specialists, we work with so-called risk scores. What are the chances of a successful operation in a patient? It makes it easier to discuss the feasibility of an operation with a patient and think about possible complications post-operation,” explains Dr. Ter Woorst.

Classic risk factors
There are classic risk factors. “Smoking, high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes- these classic factors are the same for men and women. These cause cardiovascular disease. But being a woman is also often seen as a risk factor. Women would have a greater risk of dying more quickly after heart surgery. And we investigated that part. We pulled out the ‘risk factor woman’ and investigated within our patient group in Eindhoven whether this was correct,” says Ter Woorst, “and what turns out is that being a woman is not a risk in itself.’

Ter Woorst believes that much more attention should be paid to cardiovascular diseases in women.

source: persbericht Catharina Ziekenhuis

Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives online Inburgering classes.

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