China is experiencing a marked increase in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction hospitalizations, with 30% occurring among women and higher risk of in-hospital death in relatively younger age groups (<70). Yet, little is known about sex differences in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction presentation and management.


In a nationally representative sample of patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction admitted to 162 Chinese hospitals in 2001, 2006, and 2011, we examined sex differences in hospitalization rates, clinical profiles, and quality of care. Among 11 986 patients, the proportion of women was unchanged between 2001 and 2011. The estimated national rates of hospital admission per 100 000 people increased from 4.6 in 2001 to 18.0 in 2011 among men (3.9-fold increase) and from 1.9 to 8.0 among women (4.2-fold increase) (Ptrend<0.0001). The median age of women increased from 68 years in 2001 to 72 years in 2011 (Ptrend<0.001); however, there was no age change in men (63 years in 2011) (Ptrend=0.48). After accounting for age, women had a higher frequency of comorbidities. Although there were significant sex differences in the time interval of >12 hours between symptom onset and admission time in 2001, since 2006 delays in presentation were comparable between women and men. Fewer women without contraindications received evidence-based therapies than men, including reperfusion (57.5% versus 44.2%), early aspirin (88.8% versus 85.9%), and clopidogrel (56.9% versus 52.5%, P<0.001 for all) and the differences were largely unchanged over time.


Women experienced a higher increase in hospitalization rates for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction in China between 2001 and 2011 and were less likely to receive evidence-based therapies, especially reperfusion. In addition to efforts to improve quality of care generally, understanding the reasons for this sex disparity and addressing these differences in care should be a priority.


URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01624883.

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