Young Women More Likely to Die in Hospital after STEMI

Women also less often receive life-saving procedure to remove artery blockage

Contact: Nicole Napoli,, 202-375-6523

WASHINGTON (Oct 26, 2015) -

Young women with ST-elevation myocardial infarction were less likely to receive life-saving angioplasty and stenting to restore blood flow to blocked arteries than men and also had longer hospital stays and higher rates of in-hospital mortality, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI, is the deadliest form of heart attack and is caused by a prolonged blockage of blood supply in the heart. Patients recover from these heart attacks most successfully when they receive immediate stenting to restore blood flow. Previous studies have shown that the hospitalization rates for heart attacks in patients under the age of 60 have not changed in the past decade, but there are few data on the trends in outcomes and methods for restoring blood flow in these younger patients.

Researchers in this study used the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database to examine 632,930 STEMI patients between the ages of 18 and 59 from 2004 to 2011. Women were less likely to have presented with STEMI than men and were also less likely to have been treated to restore blood flow. However, overall trends in angioplasty and stenting increased in both men and women during the study period.

The study also showed that young women with STEMI died at a higher rate than young men, with 4.5 percent of women in the study dying in the hospital compared to 3 percent of men. Women also had slightly longer hospital stays than men at 4.35 days versus four days on average. Researchers speculated that men may be more likely than women to die before arriving at the hospital, which might in part explain the higher rate of in-hospital mortality for younger women.

Researchers said there could be several reasons for why younger women were less likely to receive revascularization, including that they are less likely to have chest pain, which could lead to a delayed recognition of STEMI by their doctors. Women also have a two-fold higher risk of bleeding with procedures to restore blood flow compared to men, which could lead to some women not receiving guideline-specific interventional therapies.

“Despite guidelines directing use of stenting in heart attack patients, younger women are receiving this life-saving treatment method less than younger men,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study, executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “Our research shows that there is a great opportunity and need to improve national heart attack care processes and outcomes and address these sex disparities in providing care to younger heart attack patients.”

American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines state that hospitals treating STEMI patients with emergency angioplasty/stenting should do so within 90 minutes or less of reaching the hospital. In response to challenges in meeting that time, the ACC launched the Door-to-Balloon (D2B) Alliance in 2006 with the goal of saving time and saving lives by reducing the time to which STEMI patients receive percutaneous coronary intervention in U.S. hospitals. For more information, visit

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which publishes peer-reviewed research on all aspects of cardiovascular disease, is the most widely read cardiovascular journal worldwide. JACC is ranked No. 1 among cardiovascular journals worldwide for its scientific impact. The latest research and clinical practice updates in cardiology are at your fingertips with the JACC Journals app for iPhone/iPad and Android.

The American College of Cardiology is a 49,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit



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