A trial led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh has found that women receive poorer heart attack treatment than men, even when the rates of diagnosis are the same.
The research, compiled by Dr Ken Lee, saw a similar proportion of men and women – 21 and 22% respectively – be diagnosed with a heart attack or injury to the heart muscle after going to A&E with chest pains.
Treatment rates were not equal, however, with women half as likely to receive standard treatments as men, the British Heart Foundation funded study found.
It was concluded that 15% of women tested had a stent fitted compared to 34% of men; 26% had dual antiplatelet therapy compared to 43% of men; and 16% had statins compared to 26% of men.
The findings also showed that improvements in diagnosis did not lead to a decrease in the number of women who experienced another heart attack or suffered from a cardiovascular disease within a year.
The study focused on 48,282 patients, almost half of whom were women, with suspected acute coronary syndrome across 10 hospitals in Scotland.
It examined the impact of using the highly sensitive troponin blood test to detect heart attacks with different thresholds for men and women.
The number of women with heart attack or heart injury increased from 3,521 to 4,991 women out of a total of 22,562 women.
However, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Catherine Calderwood, states that the rate of deaths in the country is improving, but more help is required for female sufferers.
Calderwood said: “The number of deaths from heart disease has reduced significantly over recent years due to improved medical care, reduced smoking and increased awareness that lifestyle improvement plays a significant part in saving what was previously seen as an ‘inevitable’ death.
“The Scottish Government is aware that improvements in health care need to recognise the specific needs of women with heart disease.”
Dr Calderwood finished by stating what measures are in place to combat health insecurities with women. She said “The Scottish Programme for Government 2019/20 commits to establishing a Women’s Health Plan to tackle women’s health inequalities. This will include the reduction of inequalities in health outcomes for women’s general health, including work on cardiac disease. “