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Treating Heart Failure – Are Women Luckier?

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According to the latest studies, pacemaker treatment in cases of heart failure proves to be more efficient with women than with men. The problem is, however, that there are very few chances for them to get it.
Heart FailureUltimate goals of such treatment would be:

  • Treating the cause of attack, such as coronary heart disease (CHD) or high blood pressure
  • Reducing actual symptoms
  • Avoiding deterioration
  • Increasing lifespan and improving quality of life

New cardiac resynchronization therapy was a definite success for women leading to reduction in risk of death rates caused by heart attacks practically in half and risk of heart failures more than in 65 percent. Its technology is based on the use of pacemaker “ special device to control and regulate the rhythm of human heartbeats. And yet, it wasn't nearly so productive for men with their risk rates lowering only on 15 percent.

On the grounds that just a small number of women took part in testing new technology, current guidelines include these results only partially, orienting in general on the male auditory. It becomes obvious that the role of women in trials of a new treatment technology was largely underestimated considering that they constituted only 20 percent of the patients. Consequently, the number of female patients at the present stage is not as sufficient as it could be.

Good way out in getting equal results could be compiling two different clinical guidelines “ separately for men and for women, as it cleared out that the required parameters and desired benefits should be different for two genders.

How This Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Works

CRT helps to treat electrical disorders by controlling two sides of the heart. It is essential they beat at the same rate, not one before the other. In other words, it resynchronizes their beating when necessary. This model is aimed at treating the break in synchrony longer than 150 milliseconds, which is a known medical condition termed QRS duration. It presupposes time needed for electrical conduction in the heart, while longer intervals indicate dangerously delayed electrical function.

Why Does It Work With Women Other Than With Men?

The case with women is that they get benefit from the device even with the QRS of 130 to 149 milliseconds as opposed to men with the same heart rate. At this range, therapy showed substantial results in reducing women’s risk of heart failure or death by 76 percent, but again, no benefit for men. Probable reason lies in following factors:

  • Physiological differences in the size of the heart

The size of organs is decisive at this point: women's hearts are smaller, so that even shorter delays could have more negative results. If man has the same delay in time he will produce quite different respond, for dyssynchronization doesn't reach its critical mark yet.

  • How women experience heart diseases

It's more probable women won't experience heart failure that is connected with prior heart attacks.

  • Type of disorder

Practically all women involved in the clinical trials had left bundle branch block. It is a medical condition by which activation of the left side is delayed, which causes it to contract later than the right one. The therapy easily fixes this problem by correcting the delay between the pumping of the different walls of the heart and causing them to move at the same time again.

Such precise guidelines research once again highlights the necessity of employing more women in trial concerning investigation of the pacemaker specificity, while these differences in physiology and anatomy lead, accordingly, to different results “ better or worse functioning of the device. And that, in its turn, affects safety and health of the patients.