Sex, quality of care, and outcomes of elderly patients hospitalized with heart failure: findings from the National Heart Failure Project

Saif S Rathore, JoAnne Micale Foody, Yongfei Wang, Jeph Herrin, Frederick A Masoudi, Edward P Havranek, Diana L Ordin, Harlan M Krumholz
American Heart Journal 2005, 149 (1): 121-8

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have demonstrated that women hospitalized for heart failure receive poorer quality of care and have worse outcomes than men. However, these studies were based upon selected patient populations and lacked quality of care measures.

METHODS: We used data from the National Heart Failure Project, a national sample of fee-for-service Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure in the United States in 1998-1999, to evaluate differences in quality of care and patient outcomes between men and women. Multivariable hierarchical logistic regression models and chi2 analyses were used to examine sex differences in the documentation of left ventricular systolic function (LVSF), prescription of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for patients with left ventricular dysfunction, and mortality within 30 days and 1 year of admission in the study cohort (n = 30,996).

RESULTS: Women had lower overall rates of LVSF assessment than men (64.9% vs 69.5%, P < .001). Among patients classified as candidates for ACE inhibitor prescription, women had lower crude rates of ACE inhibitor prescription than men (70.1% vs 74.2%, P = .015), but treatment rates were similar when evaluating the prescription of ACE inhibitors or ARBs (78.9% women vs 81.3% men, P = .11). Despite lower rates of treatment, women had lower mortality rates than men at 30 days (9.2% vs 11.4%, P < .001) and 1 year (36.2% vs 43.0%, P < .001) after admission. Results were similar after multivariable adjustment.

CONCLUSIONS: There were small sex differences in the quality of care provided to fee-for-service Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure, although women had higher rates of survival than men up to 1 year after hospitalization.

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