Atrial fibrillation, flutter could be more deadly for women

New research out of Canada points to a trend showing atrial fibrillation and flutter (AFF) kills more women than men.

The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, examined AFF patients that were discharged from emergency departments in Alberta, Canada. Initial results showed that women experienced higher death rates than men at 30 and 90 days after discharge.

"As healthcare systems are stretched beyond their capacity, there are various pressures on the emergency departments," said Rhonda J. Rosychuk, PhD, the lead author on the study and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta and the Women & Children's Health Research Institute, in a statement. "In Alberta, women were more likely to be discharged from the emergency department than men for acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, stable angina, and chest pain. However, there are few data on the epidemiology of AFF in the emergency department setting, and sex differences are not well understood."

Other findings include that women experienced either short or long waits to see a doctor or specialist for a follow-up appointment. Waits depended on socioeconomic status and whether they had other medical conditions.

Among patients in the study, 234 died within 30 days of discharge, and within 90 days of discharge, 548 people died. In both categories, more women died than men.

"Sex and gender-based analyses provide opportunities for clinicians and researchers to identify health inequities and advocate for changes in health care delivery," said H. Rowe, MD, an author on the study and the scientific director at the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH) for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), in a statement. "This research adds to accumulating evidence that women with cardiovascular disease may receive different management and experience worse outcomes than men."