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Characteristics and outcomes of women veterans undergoing cardiac catheterization in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System: insights from the VA CART Program.

Davis MB, Maddox TM, Langner P, Plomondon ME, Rumsfeld JS, Duvernoy CS. Characteristics and outcomes of women veterans undergoing cardiac catheterization in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System: insights from the VA CART Program. Circulation. Cardiovascular quality and outcomes. 2015 Mar 1; 8(2 Suppl 1):S39-47.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The number of women veterans is increasing, yet little is known about their cardiovascular risk factors, coronary anatomy, cardiac treatments, and outcomes after cardiac catheterization. Prior studies have shown that nonveteran women have more risk factors, receive less aggressive treatment, and have worse outcomes, despite having less obstructive coronary artery disease than men. Whether these differences exist among women veterans in the veterans affairs healthcare system is unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: Data on 85 936 veterans (3181 women) undergoing initial cardiac catheterization between October 1, 2007, and September 30, 2012, were examined using the national veterans affairs Clinical Assessment Reporting and Tracking (CART) Program. Sex differences in demographics, indications, coronary anatomy, cardiac treatments, and outcomes were analyzed. Women veterans were younger (56.9 versus 63.0 years, P < 0.0001) with fewer traditional cardiovascular risk factors, but with more obesity, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder than men. Women had lower rates of obstructive coronary artery disease than men (22.6% versus 53.3%). Rates of procedural complications were similar in both genders. Adjusted outcomes at 1 year showed women had lower mortality (hazard ratio, 0.74; confidence interval, 0.60-0.92) and less all-cause rehospitalization (hazard ratio, 0.87; confidence interval, 0.82-0.93), but no difference in rates of unplanned percutaneous coronary intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Women veterans undergoing catheterization are younger, have more obesity, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder, less obstructive coronary artery disease, and similar long-term outcomes, compared with men. These findings suggest a significant portion of women veterans may have chest pain not attributable to obstructive coronary artery disease. Further research into possible causes, such as endothelial dysfunction or concurrent psychological comorbidities, is needed.





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