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Dhruva SS, Dziura J, Bathulapalli H, Rosman L, Gaffey AE, Davis MB, Brandt CA, Haskell SG. Gender Differences in Guideline-Directed Medical Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease Among Young Veterans. Journal of general internal medicine. 2022 Sep 1; 37(Suppl 3):806-815.
BACKGROUND: There is an increasing burden of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart failure (HF), among women Veterans. Clinical practice guidelines recommend multiple pharmacotherapies that can reduce risk of mortality and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To determine if there are disparities in the use of guideline-directed medical therapy by gender among Veterans with incident CAD and HF. DESIGN: Retrospective. PARTICIPANTS: Veterans (934,504; 87.8% men and 129,469; 12.2% women) returning from Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn. MAIN MEASURES: Differences by gender in the prescription of Class 1, Level of Evidence A guideline-directed medical therapy among patients who developed incident CAD and HF at 30 days, 90 days, and 12 months after diagnosis. For CAD, medications included statins and antiplatelet therapy. For HF, medications included beta-blockers and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors. KEY RESULTS: Overall, women developed CAD and HF at a younger average age than men (mean 45.8 vs. 47.7 years, p < 0.001; and 43.7 vs. 45.4 years, p < 0.02, respectively). In the 12 months following a diagnosis of incident CAD, the odds of a woman receiving a prescription for at least one CAD drug was 0.85 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68-1.08) compared to men. In the 12 months following a diagnosis of incident HF, the odds of a woman receiving at least one HF medication was 0.54 (95% CI, 0.37-0.79) compared to men. CONCLUSIONS: Despite guideline recommendations, young women Veterans have approximately half the odds of being prescribed guideline-directed medical therapy within 1-year after a diagnosis of HF. These results highlight the need to develop targeted strategies to minimize gender disparities in CVD care to prevent adverse outcomes in this young and growing population.