A new review has dismissed suggestions that angioplasty is not safe for women. Contradicting earlier reports that angioplasty in women was dangerous as compared to men, Dr. Alexandra J. Lansky, MD, Director of the Angiographic Core Laboratory and the Women's Cardiovascular Health Initiative at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, said that the comparison to men overshadowed the true benefit to women of early intervention.
The new research demonstrates that early intervention saves lives in women who have a heart attack or unstable chest pain. "Recent news reports suggest that women do not fare as well as men following angioplasty. However, a cumulative view of the research on this topic overwhelmingly indicates that early intervention does benefit women, and in fact, prevents death and heart attacks," Dr. Lansky said.
"We should be comparing interventional strategies in women to other therapies in women, in order to determine whether or not they are beneficial. The comparison to men is largely irrelevant," she said. Women with stable angina have a milder form of chest pain caused by narrowings in coronary arteries that are not immediately life threatening, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a set of procedures used to treat coronary heart disease, relieves chest pain symptoms better than medical therapy.
In women who have unstable chest pain, mild heart attack, or heart attack, PCI improves survival and reduces the chances of having a heart attack in the future. Dr. Lansky said that due to excessive doses of blood thinners given during the procedure women have a higher risk of bleeding complications than men, but it did not meant withholding life saving procedures from female patients.
From the study she suggested that women should not be double minded for angioplasty. "The message to the public should clearly be that early intervention benefits women with acute coronary syndromes (mild and severe heart attacks). Women should not delay coming to the hospital if they suspect a heart attack and should not be afraid should they need an angioplasty - it could save their life" Dr. Lansky said.
The research will be reported at TCT 2007, the annual scientific symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF).