Research led by Royal Brompton and Harefield consultant finds thousands of UK women with hearts attacks are underdiagnosed

Research published by Professor Thomas Lüscher, director of research, education and development, and cardiology consultant at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, has found that thousands of women in the UK who have experienced heart attacks have missed out on appropriate treatments over the past 19 years.

The study provides insights into the role of biological sex in heart attacks and was recently published in The Lancet.

The study running from 2005 to 2017 suggests that on average 5.2% more women who had a heart attack each year in the UK, should have been classified as being at high risk of death and thus requiring timely interventional treatment.

Image of Prof Thomas Lüscher

High mortality rates in female patients with heart attacks have been a concern to cardiologists for decades, with female patients typically experiencing heart attacks at an older age and with more comorbidities than male patients.

Dr Florian Wenzl, from the University of Zurich and a researcher from the study said, “We show that established risk models which guide current patient management are less accurate in females and favor the undertreatment of female patients.

“Using a machine learning algorithm and the largest datasets in Europe we were able to develop a novel artificial intelligence-based risk score which accounts for sex-related differences in the baseline risk profile and improves the prediction of mortality in both sexes.”

Many researchers consider big data analysis as the next frontier in cardiology on the path towards personalised medicine. Professor Lüscher and his team see huge potential in the application of artificial intelligence for the management of heart disease both in male and female patients.

Professor Lüscher explains, “Indeed, there are notable differences in the disease phenotype observed in females and males.

 “I hope the implementation of this novel score in treatment algorithms will refine current treatment strategies, reduce sex inequalities, and eventually improve the survival of patients with heart attack – both male and female.”