The 'real' woman with heart failure. Impact of sex on current in-hospital management of heart failure by cardiologists and internists

C. Opasich, S. De Feo, G. A. Ambrosio, P. Bellis, A. Di Lenarda, G. Di Tano, D. Fico, L. Gonzini, R. Lavecchia, C. Tomasi, Aldo P. Maggioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To identify differences between sexes in the clinical profile, use of resources, management and outcome in a large population of 'real world' patients with heart failure (HF). Methods: A prospective cross-sectional survey was conducted on 2127 consecutive patients (47% women) admitted with HF to 167 cardiology and 250 internal medicine departments between February 14 and 25, 2000. Results: Women were older, had a higher prevalence of atrial fibrillation, and more frequently a hypertensive or valvular aetiology. Females were admitted more frequently in Medical than in Cardiology Departments. The rate of invasive and non-invasive procedures was lower in women than in men, slightly higher if managed by cardiologists. Women were less frequently prescribed ACE-inhibitors, amiodarone, and spironolactone, and more frequently prescribed digoxin. In-hospital mortality was similar, without difference between health-care providers. A 6-month follow-up was performed in 56.4% of the cases in both setting, but less frequently in women. Event rates were similar with nearly half of patients re-hospitalised at least once. Conclusion: The 'real' HF woman has generally a more severe disease; she is an old lady who is more frequently hospitalised in a medical unit, receives few diagnostic, and cardiovascular procedures and pharmacological therapy, has a relatively low probability of dying in hospital, but a high likelihood of requiring readmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-779
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Heart Failure
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • Heart failure
  • Management
  • Prognosis
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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