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Am Heart J. 1999 Nov;138(5 Pt 1):835-42.

Sex differences in the clinical care and outcomes of congestive heart failure in the elderly.

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Department of Epidemiology, Internal Medicine Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.



There is evidence for sex differences in treatment and outcome of ischemic heart disease. However, little and conflicting data exist about sex differences in the care and outcome of elderly patients with heart failure.


We compared mortality rate, readmission, and use of selected treatments and procedures between women and men in a database of 2445 patients (1426 women) aged >/=65 admitted for heart failure to 18 Connecticut hospitals in 1994 and 1995. Demographic and clinical data were abstracted from the medical records.


Women were older and more likely to have a history of hypertension whereas men more often had previous coronary heart disease. Women had more preserved left ventricular systolic function and higher systolic blood pressure on presentation than men. Treatments on day 1 (aspirin, angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors, and diuretics), procedures during admission (assessment of left ventricular function, coronary angiography, and revascularization), and use of ACE inhibitors among ideal candidates at discharge were similar in men and women. Six-month rehospitalization rates were also similar. Although 30-day mortality rate did not differ between men and women, 6-month and 1-year mortality rates were lower in women after age adjustment (relative risk for 6-month death 0.81, 95% confidence interval, 0.68-0.95). In multivariable analysis, sex differences in mortality rate were reduced (relative risk 0.90, 95% confidence intervals, 0.75-1.08). History of hypertension, systolic blood pressure on admission, and left ventricular function mostly explained the observed sex differences in mortality rate.


Female and male patients hospitalized for heart failure have a similar hospital course, treatment pattern, and readmission rates, but women live longer than men. When baseline differences are accounted for, the mortality risk of women and men becomes very similar.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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