More women die after bypass surgery than men

WOMEN who undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery are presenting later and are sicker than their male counterparts, Australian research shows.

Women are more likely than men to die in the month after the procedure (2.2% vs 1.5%), researcher Dr Andrew Newcomb found after analysing a national database of 21,500 patients.

Dr Newcomb, deputy director of cardiothoracic surgery at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, found the female patients were more likely to be older, and to have congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, lung disease or cerebrovascular disease.

The reasons for gender difference were likely complex, and may include clinicians' failure to recognise as coronary the atypical symptoms of many presenting women, such as arm, scapula and back pain, he said.

The researchers analysed data collected through the Australasian Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons cardiac surgery database of procedures undertaken between