Women with heart failure, a condition in which the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the body's demands, may live longer than their male counterparts, a new study says.
The results are based on an analysis of 31 studies involving 28,000 men and 14,000 women with long-term (chronic) heart failure who were followed for three years.
After taking into account patients' age, men had a 31 percent higher risk of dying over the study compared with women, the researchers said.
However, the absolute difference between men and women's mortality was only slight. Over the three year period, 25.3 percent of the women and 25.7 percent of the men died.
The study is the largest to look at how gender affects risk of death for people with heart failure.
A number of factors could explain the survival advantage in women, said study researcher Manuel Martinez-Selles, of the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid. "The female heart appears to respond to injury differently from the male heart," Martinez-Selles said.
For example, women appear to have less detrimental changes in heart function after an injury, and greater protection from irregular heartbeats, Martinez-Selles said.
The study also found that overall women were prescribed fewer recommended treatments for heart failure than men, including angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and beta blockers.