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February 2, 2000

Sex Bias in Cardiovascular Care: Should Women Be Treated More Like Men?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

JAMA. 2000;283(5):659-661. doi:10.1001/jama.283.5.659

Cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death for both men and women. However, since 1984 more women than men have died of this disease.1 Thus, any suggestion that cardiovascular care is biased against women has major public health implications and must be examined carefully. If true, such bias would represent a severe failing of the modern medical system. Since Tobin et al2 reported more than a decade ago that women with abnormal nuclear exercise studies were referred far less often than men for cardiac catheterization and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, a host of additional studies have confirmed important sex-based differences in many aspects of care for coronary artery disease (CAD).3,4 Some reports have suggested that these differences are the result of physician bias.