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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Science Policy

Women Versus Men with Chronic Atrial Fibrillation: Insights from the Standard Versus Atrial Fibrillation spEcific managemenT studY (SAFETY)
Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Author: Jocasta Ball et al.

by Jocasta Ball, Melinda J. Carrington, Kathryn A. Wood, Simon Stewart, the SAFETY Investigators

Background

Gender-based clinical differences are increasingly being identified as having significant influence on the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD), including atrial fibrillation (AF).

Objective

To perform detailed clinical phenotyping on a cohort of hospitalised patients with chronic forms of AF to understand if gender-based differences exist in the clinical presentation, thrombo-embolic risk and therapeutic management of high risk patients hospitalised with chronic AF.

Methods

We are undertaking the Standard versus Atrial Fibrillation spEcific managemenT studY (SAFETY) - a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of an AF-specific management intervention versus usual care. Extensive baseline profiling of recruited patients was undertaken to identify gender-specific differences for risk delineation.

Results

We screened 2,438 patients with AF and recruited 335 into SAFETY. Of these, 48.1% were women who were, on average, 5 years older than their male counterparts. Women and men displayed divergent antecedent profiles, with women having a higher thrombo-embolic risk but being prescribed similar treatment regimens. More women than men presented to hospital with co-morbid thyroid dysfunction, depression, renal impairment and obesity. In contrast, more men presented with coronary artery disease (CAD) and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Even when data was age-adjusted, women were more likely to live alone (odds ratio [OR] 2.33; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.47 to 3.69), have non-tertiary education (OR 2.69; 95% CI 1.61 to 4.48) and be symptomatic (OR 1.93; 95% CI 1.06 to 3.52).

Conclusion

Health care providers should be cognisant of gender-specific differences in an attempt to individualise and, hence, optimise the management of patients with chronic AF and reduce potential morbidity and mortality.

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