Effect of gender on treatment, resource utilization, and outcomes in congestive heart failure in Quebec, Canada

      This study assessed whether a gender gap exists in therapy, procedure use, and outcomes in patients who have a new diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF) at the population level. The Quebec hospital discharge database was linked with the physician and drug claims databases to identify a cohort of patients who had a diagnosis of CHF (code 428 in the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision) between January 1998 and December 2002. There were 16,017 men and 16,622 women. Women who had CHF were older (78 ± 11 vs 73 ± 11 years, p <0.001), had more hypertension (41% vs 28%, p <0.001) and hyperlipidemia (18% vs 14%, p <0.001) but less frequent myocardial infarction (19% vs 25%, p <0.001). Women were less likely to see a cardiologist (30% vs 34%, p <0.001) and required a longer hospital stay (12.0 ± 14.8 vs 10.6 ± 13.3 days, p <0.001). During the first year after a first CHF hospitalization, women were less like to have an assessment of left ventricular function (61% vs 65%, p <0.001), diagnostic cardiac catheterization (11% vs 15%, p <0.001), and revascularization procedure (4% vs 6%, p <0.001). Women were less likely to be prescribed an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (60% vs 66%) and more likely to be prescribed a β blocker (38% vs 34%). Women and men had similar yearly numbers of rehospitalizations for CHF (1.4 ± 1.0 vs 1.5 ± 1.0) and emergency room visits (1.7 ± 1.2 vs 1.8 ± 1.3). The adjusted risk of death was minimally higher in men than in women (hazard ratio 1.06, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.1, p <0.01). Thus, despite less frequent cardiologist assessment, fewer cardiac-related procedures, and less frequent use of standard medical therapy, clinical outcomes in women and men who had CHF were similar.
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