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article imageGender, income gap in cardiac care continues to affect Ontario

By Andrew Moran     Dec 9, 2009 in Health
A new Ontario study suggests that women who had a heart attack were less likely to receive cardiac care from a cardiologist as opposed to their male counterparts.
Thousands each year are sent to the emergency room because they are experiencing a heart attack and many times it is fatal. Men and women alike both suffer from heart attacks but who would’ve thought that a member of the opposite would receive greater treatment than the other?
A new Ontario study released suggests that women who have a heart attack are less likely to receive the proper cardiac care from a cardiologist. The health study by St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, which was released on Wednesday, showed they would not be treated correctly, be referred for angiography or given cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The study further showed that 40 percent of women who suffered from a heart attack were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital. But research shows that men and women both used the similar amounts of important medication that is needed after a heart attack and both genders experienced the same waiting times for angiographies.
Dr. Arlene Bierman, a physician at St. Michael's Hospital and principal investigator of the study, entitled Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report, said, “The good news is the gender gap has narrowed over the past decade and we identified a number of areas where care received by women and men is comparable. Now we need to eliminate the gender disparities that remain to improve health outcomes and provide a better quality of life for women with heart disease."
Adults with low incomes and less education were more likely to report average, fair or poor health, while people who had suffered from a heart attack living in lower-income neighborhoods had lower rates of angiographies.
This joint study is the first comprehensive research into women’s health in correlation to income, health status, education, geography and ethnicity.
Dr. Marco Di Buono, Director of Research, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, said that these results stress great concern to physicians and public officials and continued, “If we do not address disparities in women's heart health, we will see mortality rates from this disease increase in Canadian women sooner than we expect."
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