Part of WIN’s mission is to increase the number of women in the field of interventional cardiology. The goal is not only to assist female physicians in fulfilling their own professional goals, but to assist in diversifying the cardiology workforce (in which women are woefully underrepresented). WIN’s belief is that a more diverse workforce will allow for a diversified and effective approach to the care of different patient populations. Specifically, a more effective approach to the diagnosis and treatment of women with heart disease.
At a healthcare disparities hearing on Capitol Hill this morning, Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Deputy Director of the National Insitutes of Health (NIH) noted that the NIH is working to diversify its own workforce. He emphasized that diversifying the workforce of any organization is vital to its success, and suggested that as individuals we all carry our own, unrealized biases into our work places. Biased thinking can lead to slowed progress at best and discrimination at worst, and is clearly something to actively try to avoid.
In his talk, Dr. Tabak made mention of a Harvard-based program called Project Implicit. Project Implicit was born out of the theory that people don’t always “know their minds,” and that this lack of understanding can lead to unintended biased decision making. Visit the site and take the Implicit Association Test to uncover your own biases. You might be surprised at what you find.
A new study in the March issue of JACC pooled data from three DES trials (SIRTAX, LEADERS and RESOLUTE) to study sex-based differences in DES usage. Study findings were summarized as follows;
• Women undergoing PCI with the unrestricted use of DES differ from their male counterparts and are typically older, have more cardiovascular risk factors except for smoking and a lower degree of angiographic complexity as assessed by the SYNTAX score.
• After controlling for baseline differences, women undergoing PCI with DES have a similar risk of cardiac death and MI as compared with men through two years of follow-up.
• DES achieves equivalent safety and efficacy in women and men with similar results in terms of stent thrombosis, repeat revascularization and angiographic outcomes through two years of follow-up.
“So, have we answered most of the questions with regard to cardiac differences between men and women? Not by a long shot,” wrote editorialist and WIN Member Cindy L. Grines, MD.
WIN plans to host a second gender data forum in September of 2012. This time the focus will be on devices (the first forum, held in December of 2011 was focused on ACS/AMI drug trials). WIN aims to further explore differences in prevalence, mechanism, manifestation and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women.
To view the JACC article, click HERE.
To view additional editorial comments from Cardiovascular Business, click HERE.
In 2010, SCAI WIN helped launch a patient screening program in conjunction with the Abbott Vascular Women’s Heart Health Initiative. The pilot project enrolled sites across the United States, where OBGYN patients were screened for cardiovascular risk factors or disease. From January 2010 to January 2012, 2,234 women (47 percent of whom were postmenopausal) were asked to complete a simple, one-page survey regarding traditional and gestational heart disease risk factors and any current symptoms. Blood pressure readings were taken in all patients with no prior screening. The results from the pilot study were presented yesterday during ACC ’12 by Dr. Jennifer Yu of Mt Sinai University Hospital. WIN hopes to use the momentum of these results to build a PDA app, allowing OBGYN physicians to perform simple but often overlooked cardiovascular disease screenings and increase the referral pathway to cardiologists.
To read the ACC’s press release regarding the study click HERE.
***UPDATE*** The press release on this abstract was picked up by over 30 different publications including Good Morning America Yahoo! News and MSN Health & Fitness
Strengthening the link between pregnancy and heart disease, a new study reveals that mothers of babies who are born small for their gestational age (at full term, under 5lbs 8oz) double their chances of ischemic heart disease later in life. This link is in addition to the recent news that women who had complications during their pregnancies are at a 30% increased risk of heart disease. It also adds to WIN’s efforts to promote heart disease awareness amongst the OBGYN community through a patient screening project designed to improve the referral pathway between gynocologists and cardiologists (Abstract results will be presented at this year’s ACC Congress). There is now, in fact, an entire congress devoted to the link between cardiovascular disease and pregnancy. As WIN continues to explore this issue, we hope to develop new projects designed to help understand this growing field of interest.