FEB 17, 2019 4:02 PM PST

Woman Nearly Twice As Likely To Die After Surgery

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

An aortic dissection is a tear in the large artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the body. This happens most often in older patients in their 60’s and 70’s. When this occurs, many people describe an awful tearing pain, although symptoms may be more subtle.

An aortic arch surgery is often conducted under emergency conditions after an aortic tear. Although sometimes done electively, as a preventive measure, most patients present to an emergency room with symptoms that initially seem like a heart attack or stroke.

In a study published in this month's sex-themed issue of Circulation, researchers sought to examine outcomes after this major surgery and how they differ between men and women.

“We controlled for patient’s age, weight, preoperative health, comorbidities, and we took all of that into consideration, going into an aortic arch surgery, you’re slightly less than twice as likely to die if you are a woman,” said Dr. Jennifer Chung, of the shocking results. Dr. Chung is a cardiac surgeon and scientist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center in Canada and the lead author on the paper.

In their research, scientists examined three types of outcome after surgery. The three outcomes were early death, stroke, and a composite of complications. In all three categories, women were more likely to suffer death, stroke or complications following an aortic arch surgery. Specifically, women are 80% more likely to die, 90% more likely to have a stroke, and 40% more likely to experience complications.

Data for the study was taken from nearly 1,700 patients who have undergone aortic arch surgery across a total of 10 institutions throughout Canada.

These findings are consistent with other recent studies on sex-based differences in cardiology. Researchers are beginning to understand that women present with very different symptoms that are often considered atypical. This leads to misdiagnoses because women are presenting with symptoms such as nausea and not the huge, painful shearing event more commonly seen in men.

Common symptoms in men include sudden, severe pain in the chest or upper back; pain that radiates to the neck or head or loss of consciousness. While some woman also experience such sudden tearing sensations, quite often they do not.

The paper helps to highlight a massive problem within cardiology. There should not be such a wide chasm in the outcomes between men and women. Not only do we need to educate our medical professionals about which symptoms women may present with, but we also need to recognize that surgery for men and women cannot be the same.

The future of cardiology is going to be a more personalized approach that acknowledges the differences between populations to help identify the proper diagnosis and guide subsequent medical action.

One of the ways this is happening today in cardiology is through computational modeling. Medical Staff, using this technology, create a scan of an individual's heart to help providers understand the unique anatomy of each patient. The above video from John Hopkins Medicine explains how this is now being done to help understand arrhythmias.

Dr. Chung has stressed the importance of further research to help the medical community understand the differences between men and women so that we may create a better system for treating everyone.


 

Sources: University Health Network

About the Author
Applied Sport and Exercise Science
Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
FEB 16, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Protective Genetic Variants Can Shield Carriers From Disease
FEB 16, 2022
Protective Genetic Variants Can Shield Carriers From Disease
The human genome contains mostly the same genes from one person to another, but there are tiny sequence differences in t ...
FEB 16, 2022
Cardiology
The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Valvular Heart Disease
FEB 16, 2022
The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Valvular Heart Disease
The heart is made up of valves that open and close with blood flow as the heart muscle relaxes and contracts. Valvular h ...
APR 11, 2022
Technology
AI Accurately Predicts if Someone Will Die of Cardiac Arrest
APR 11, 2022
AI Accurately Predicts if Someone Will Die of Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops working, usually leading to the inability to breathe or a loss of co ...
MAY 21, 2022
Cardiology
Do E-cigarettes Cause Cardiovascular Disease?
MAY 21, 2022
Do E-cigarettes Cause Cardiovascular Disease?
In the late 1960s, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act was introduced by Congress, requiring written warnings to be ...
JUN 12, 2022
Plants & Animals
Vegan Diet Rich in Legumes Helps with Weight Loss
JUN 12, 2022
Vegan Diet Rich in Legumes Helps with Weight Loss
New research conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine suggests that a vegan diet offers a range of ...
AUG 06, 2022
Technology
Wearable Devices More Cost Effective Way to Screen for Atrial Fibrillation
AUG 06, 2022
Wearable Devices More Cost Effective Way to Screen for Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition characterized by abnormal, fast heart beats, affects an estimated five million peo ...
Loading Comments...