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Women receive inferior heart failure emergency care

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Women with heart failure receive fewer interventions than male patients, according to an audit of NHS services.

Researchers surveyed 176 acute trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on emergency admissions for acute heart failure, from October 2005 to March 2006.

On average, women were less likely to have had echocardiography and, if previously diagnosed with HF, less likely to be treated with ACE inhibitors, b-blockers or aldosterone antagonists at admission.

Women were also less likely to be prescribed anti-failure medication, except diuretics, on discharge, according to the study which will be published in the journal Heart.

‘Significant and sustained effort is required to deal with gender inequalities in the provision of heart failure care,’ the study authors said

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘We expect the NHS to look carefully at these findings and act to ensure that women receive due diligence in diagnosis, treatment, and care.’

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