Women aged ≤55 are more likely to have poorer health outcomes after a heart attack compared to their male counterparts, according to new research. The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2014.

Rachel P. Dreyer, PhD, and colleagues from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT analyzed data from the VIRGO study (Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients) of 3,501 patients (67% female) who had suffered from heart attacks between 2008–2012 in the U.S. and Spain. One year post-heart attack, women were more likely to have poorer physical and mental functioning, lower quality of life, greater chest pain, and worse physical limitations vs. men.

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The authors speculate that socio-demographic, clinical, and biological causes that include undetected chest pain, problems with access to care, and an increase in work/life responsibilities may be factors in these outcomes for women. They also add that identification of women at a higher risk for cardiovascular events and tailoring treatments to improve the recovery of women post-heart attack are needed.

For more information visit Heart.org.