Treat heart defects faster in women


Heart defects in women need to be treated faster

A new study examined the gender differences in congenital heart disease, Fallot's tetralogy (TOF). Director of Studies PD Dr. Samir Sarikouch from the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and a team of researchers from the Competence Network for Congenital Heart Defects found that women have to be operated on earlier than men.

Fallot tetralogy
The heart disease Fallot tetralogy is diagnosed when four different components occur together: First, there is a narrowing of the outflow tract of the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery. On the other hand, the ventricular septum is defective. This defect occurs immediately below the main artery. There is also a thickening of the muscles of the right ventricle. In addition, a malformed or missing flap of the pulmonary artery often occurs. The result is a lack of oxygen supply to the body with so-called hypoxic seizures. Affected babies can be recognized by the striking blue-red coloring of the skin and mucous membranes. These attacks can result in brain damage. In the worst case, the child dies. An operative correction should be made within the first 18 months of life (source: German Heart Center Munich)

The study The study examined more than 400 patients with congenital heart disease at 14 heart centers in Germany. The researchers focused on the gender-specific differences in the course of the disease. The study found that women's hearts are smaller than men's hearts when standardized to a uniform body size. Women's hearts with Fallot tetralogy are therefore significantly less resilient. PD Dr. Samir Sarikouch reports: "The long-term course of the disease is also different in that women with comparable residual findings are more likely to have to be operated on in order to avoid irreparable stress on the right ventricle." If these operations are performed too late, heart failure and heart failure can occur. Dr. Sarikouch continues: “So far, we have neglected the fact that women’s hearts have to be treated differently from men’s hearts because of congenital heart defects. The guidelines for reoperations in Fallot tetralogy should be reconsidered and in the future take gender into account. "The study was published in the current issue of the journal" Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging ". Scientists want to determine a procedure for the approximately 15,000 affected patients in Germany in the future that makes it possible to create individual risk analyzes. (ag)

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Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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Video: Clinical Presentation of Congenital Heart Disease by Nancy Braudis, RN for OPENPediatrics


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