Women appear to fare worse than men when suffering an aortic aneurysm, according to new research involving the life-threatening medical emergency, which typically requires immediate surgery.
In a study published last month in the medical journal The Lancet, researchers indicate that there is a significant disparity between the prognosis for women and men when it comes to aortic aneurysms, as well as methods of treatment offered.
Aortic aneurysm is a painful and potentially serious condition involving a bulge in the aorta, where the walls of the artery have weakened. The condition can cause severe chest pain, as well as carry the risk of rupturing. Aortic aneurysms pose a serious health risk and usually require invasive surgery to treat.
Researchers from the U.K., conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of different studies between 2005 and 2016, involving men and women who suffered abdominal aortic aneurysms and who were assessed for aneurysm repair procedures, including endovascular repair (EVAR), which is a minimally invasive procedure, or open repair. They looked at rates of non-intervention and 30-day mortality.
According to the findings, only 34% of the female patients were deemed eligible for EVAR, compared to 54% of the men. The review also found that non-intervention rates were also 34% for women, compared to only 19% of men whose physicians decide not to take action. Women were 67% more likely to die within 30 days following an EVAR procedure, and 76% more likely to die after open repair surgery, the researchers found.
“Compared with men, a smaller proportion of women are eligible for EVAR, a higher proportion of women are not offered intervention, and operative mortality is much higher in women for both EVAR and open repair,” the researchers concluded. “The management of abdominal aortic aneurysm in women needs improvement.”
Researchers involved in the study indicate that aortic aneurysms are still seen primarily as a male condition, and treatments are designed, overall, with men in mind.
“Our findings show that despite overall improvement in mortality rates for this condition, there is a huge disparity between outcomes for men and women, which is not acceptable,” lead researcher and study author Janet Powell, a professor with the Imperial College of London’s Department of Surgery & Cancer, said in a press release. “The way abdominal aortic aneurysm is managed in women needs urgent improvement.”