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Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported February 28, 2006

Women, men, Infection and Bypass Surgery

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- University of Michigan researchers are shedding new light on who is most likely to die following coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) and why.

Study results show women have the highest mortality rates and point squarely to women's increased risk for infections as the culprit. Men who get infections, however, aren't off the hook. While they end up with fewer infections overall, once they develop an infection, they are significantly more likely to succumb to it than women.

Investigators found men with infections were three-times more likely to die than men without infections. Women with infections were 1.8-times more likely to die.

The research involved more than 9,200 Medicare patients who underwent bypass surgery in Michigan over 15 months. Sixteen percent of the women in the study developed an infection at some site in the body after the operation, compared to just 10 percent of men. Twelve percent of infection patients died before leaving the hospital vs. 4 percent of patients without infections. When investigators looked at mortality rates over the first 30 days to 100 days after patients left the hospital, those with infections still had significantly higher mortality rates.

Researchers say, "Clearly, infection is an important factor when evaluating the association between sex and mortality after CABG surgery."

They call for more study to determine specific risk factors that may be leading some people who have the surgery to be more susceptible to infections than others, such as smoking, blood sugar control, genetic predisposition to infection, nutritional status and use of hospital catheters.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: /newsalert/.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2006;166:437-443

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