Treatment strategies for women with coronary artery disease

Dolor RJ, Melloni C, Chatterjee R, Allen LaPointe NM, Williams JB Jr., Coeytaux RR, McBroom AJ, Musty MD, Wing L, Samsa GP, Patel MR
Record ID 32013000203
Authors' objectives: Although coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, treatment studies to date have primarily enrolled men and may not reflect the benefits and risks that women experience. Our systematic review of the medical literature assessed the comparative effectiveness of major treatment options for CAD specifically in women. The comparisons were (1) percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) versus fibrinolysis/supportive pharmacologic therapy in ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), (2) early invasive versus initial conservative management in non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) or unstable angina, and (3) PCI versus coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) versus optimal medical therapy in stable or unstable angina. The endpoints assessed were clinical outcomes, modifiers of effectiveness by demographic and clinical factors, and safety outcomes.
Authors' recommendations: From a limited number of studies reporting results for women separately from the total study population, our findings confirm current practice and evidence for care in one of the three areas evaluated. For women with STEMI, we found that an invasive approach with immediate PCI is superior to fibrinolysis for reducing cardiovascular events, which is similar to findings in previous meta-analyses combining results for both women and men. For women with NSTEMI or unstable angina, evidence suggested that an early invasive approach reduces cardiovascular events; however, it was not statistically significant. Previous meta-analyses of studies comparing early invasive with initial conservative strategies on a combined population of men and women showed a significant benefit of early invasive therapy. We also found that the few trials reporting sex-specific data on revascularization compared with optimal medical therapy for stable angina showed a greater benefit with revascularization for women, while the men in the study fared equally well with either treatment. In contrast, previous meta-analyses that combined results for men and women found similar outcomes for either treatment. Limitations include a small number of trials with data for women available for meta-analysis, varying definitions of composite outcomes, and variable timing of followup. Future studies should collect and report clinical outcomes and harms in women by treatment strategy and at each followup time point—including subgroup data on important demographic and clinical factors that may modify clinical effectiveness—so that firmer conclusions can be reached about the risk and benefit of these therapies in women.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2012
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Adult
  • Female
Organisation Name: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Contact Address: Center for Outcomes and Evidence Technology Assessment Program, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Tel: +1 301 427 1610; Fax: +1 301 427 1639;
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Copyright: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
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