Skip to Content
Available 24/7. Call Us Today! 904-295-1050

Women Get Worse Cardiac Arrest Care Than Men: Study


Medical malpractice attorneys are aware that women who survive cardiac arrest are less likely than men to get aggressive, lifesaving care at the hospital, researchers report.  “Traditionally women have not been treated as aggressively as men,” said lead author Dr. Luke Kim, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating. In 2014, more than 350,000 people in the United States suffered cardiac arrests and only 12 percent survived, Kim noted.   In his study, women treated for cardiac arrest were 25 percent less likely to have an angiography, which is imaging to look for blocked heart arteries. Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney might see this as a negligent professional activity. Women were also 29 percent less likely to undergo angioplasty, a technique to open blocked arteries, the study found.  Moreover, women were 19 percent less likely to be treated with hypothermia to lower body temperature, which increases the odds of survival without brain damage, the researchers added.  The reasons for the disparity in care are not clear, Kim said, but “we are not as aggressively treating women as men.”

For the new study, the researchers reviewed data from 2003 to 2012 on nearly 1.44 million cardiac arrests. Some of the patients had been in the hospital when their heart stopped. Others had survived long enough after a cardiac arrest out in the community to be brought to a hospital. About 45 percent of the patients were women, who tended to be older and sicker than the men.  Over the course of the study, in-hospital deaths fell from about 69 percent to about 61 percent in women and from about 67 percent to about 57 percent in men. Overall, roughly 64 percent of women died in the hospital after cardiac arrest, compared to about 62 percent of men, according to the report.

As noted above, for the women who were less likely than men to undergo coronary angiography or receive an angioplasty procedure or undergo therapeutic hypothermia, which cools the body to prevent brain damage; their lower rates of these treatments aren’t the only reason women are more likely to die in hospitals after cardiac arrest, Kim and his colleagues say.  A subset of women who received the appropriate treatments still had worse survival, they found.  It could be that women are less likely to have cardiac arrests that respond to treatment with a defibrillator and less likely to have cardiac arrests in the presence of other people who can call for help, the authors suggest.

Dr. Leslie Cho, director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic, emphasized that the women in the study tended to be older and sicker than the men.  “Sometimes the difference can be due to older patients being less likely to want more aggressive procedures,” said Cho, who was not involved with the new study. She was surprised, however, that women were less likely to be treated with cooling therapy, because that is a decision made by doctors – not patients. She advises women to watch for signs of heart trouble, including chest pressure or tightness and increasing shortness of breath.

What can we do? The Public can help by learning about cardiac arrest and how to give “hands-only CPR.”

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice and searching law firms in Jacksonville, contact us at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation. (904) 295-1050. 

SOURCE: Journal of the American Heart Association, online June 22, 2016.

Share To:

Tell Us Your Story

Edwards & Ragatz is Here to Relentlessly Pursue Your Justice
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy