The drug treatment of heart failure is influenced by the gender of the patient and of the physician

Jan 22, 2009

While the treatment of heart failure has improved over the past two decades, a new study reported in the European Journal of Heart Failure finds that "the use of evidence-based treatments appears to be imbalanced according to the gender of the patient".

In particular, the study found

• that female patients were less frequently treated with guideline-recommended medications (such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers ARBs) or beta-blockers)
• and that doses were lower in female than in male patients.

However, the patient's gender was not the only influence on treatment; so was the gender of the physician. For example, the study demonstrated for the first time that drug treatment is more complete when female physicians are taking care of the patient. Thus, the use of ACE inhibitors or ARBs was significantly lower in female patients treated by a male physician than in male patients treated by either a female or male physician.

Similarly, the dose of ACE inhibitors and ARBs was highest in male patients treated by female physicians and was significantly different from the reverse combination (female patient, male physician). Dosage of beta-blockers was comparable in male patients irrespective of the physician's gender, whereas female patients treated by a male physician received the lowest doses.

The investigators thus concluded that "male patients with chronic heart failure are more likely to receive evidence-based drug treatment than female", particular so for the prescription of ACE inhibitors and dosage of beta-blockers.

The study was an evaluation of 1857 consecutive patients treated at the centres in Germany; treatment records involving 829 physicians (65 per cent general practitioners, 27 per cent internists, and 7 per cent cardiologists) were analysed with regard to evidence-based drug treatments to improve survival. Assessment of dosages was calculated as a percentage of averages documented in treatment guidelines for heart failure.

Commenting on the results, the study's first author Dr Magnus Baumhakel from the University Hospital of the Saarland, Homburg, Germany, said: "The use of evidence-based treatments as described in the latest guidelines has undoubtedly improved the treatment of chronic heart failure. But there is still evidence of a gender imbalance in both patients and physicians. From our results it seems fair to say that the gender of the physician plays an important role in adherence to drug treatment recommendations in chronic heart failure."

This is one of several recent studies to find gender differences in medical care (and survival) in cardiovascular disease. Many have found that women are treated less intensively than men, especially in the acute phase of the disease.

Source: European Society of Cardiology

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kidney gene implicated in increased heart failure risk

Jan 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have identified the first DNA sequence variant common in the population that is not only associated with an increased risk of heart failure, but appears to play a role in causing it.

Picking right blood pressure medicine challenging

Sep 06, 2010

(AP) -- It's hard to predict which pills will best lower which patient's high blood pressure, but researchers are hunting ways to better personalize therapy - perhaps even using a blood test.

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.