Gender and cardiac surgery

Colleen Gorman Koch, Nancy A. Nussmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The increased operative mortality and morbidity of women compared with men undergoing CABG surgery results from multiple differences in presentation, preoperative risk profile, and surgical factors. Investigators have found consistently that women present with a different preoperative risk profile than do men. Women more commonly have factors associated with increased short- and long-term mortality, such as less frequent use of IMA grafts. Differences in study design and patient population may contribute to variability in short- and long-term mortality among the various studies. The lack of representation of women in older clinical trials has hindered our understanding of the management of CAD in women; this situation must be remedied in future studies [95]. Known physiologic and anatomic differences must be evaluated for their effects on outcomes. Further studies are needed to evaluate gender-related differences in autonomic responses to acute coronary occlusion, complications related to cardiopulmonary bypass, susceptibility to abnormalities in coagulation, and other factors that might account for discrepant outcomes in men versus women undergoing CABG [96]. Beyond these factors, specific pharmacologic and therapeutic considerations, such as the role of estrogen replacement therapy, need to be clarified. As further knowledge accumulates, it is hoped that gender-specific risk factors can be mitigated and protective factors exploited, thereby improving the outcomes for all cardiac surgery patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-689
Number of pages15
JournalAnesthesiology Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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