Women fare significantly worse than men after bypass surgery, according to a new study done by researchers . However, researchers are not able to say whether the results are due to medical or psychosocial factors.
Doctors have long known women have worse outcomes after bypass surgery than men. Most have attributed this to the fact that women who need the surgery are generally older, sicker, and have fewer social supports. In this study, investigators from Duke University looked at 96 women and 184 men who underwent the operation, assessing them for medical and quality of life factors before their surgeries. They were then followed for one year.
Overall, quality of life improved for the entire group after surgery. After adjusting the results to take factors such as older age at the time of surgery and worse health and psychosocial status into account, researchers found women did not achieve the same gains as men.
Researchers say their primary finding is that, despite improved quality of life for the sample as a whole, women do not have the same degree of improvement after one year as men, even after adjusting for pre-existing risk factors.
Women in the study were more likely to have subjective cognitive problems and increased anxiety. They were also less able to perform activities of daily living, and the surgery had a greater impact on their ability to work and exercise.
Thus researchers offer two possible explanations. They say since women have smaller arteries, the surgery may not be as effective in them as it is in men, or women may be more influenced by environment or personality after the operation than men, leading to less positive results.