PITTSBURGH, November 9, 1998 — A study by cardiologists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has found that postmenopausal women with congestive heart failure (CHF) have a lower mortality rate if they are on estrogen therapy.
The study is being presented Nov. 9 at the American Heart Association’s 71st Scientific Session in Dallas by Steven Reis, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, director of the LHAS (Ladies Hospital Aid Society) Women’s Heart Center, and co-director of the Magee Women, Infant, and Fetal Heart Program.
"Postmenopausal women with congestive heart failure have a substantially worse prognosis than young women. The purpose of our study was to determine whether post-menopausal estrogen use is beneficial in women who have symptomatic CHF," said Dr. Reis.
The study included 1,362 women with symptomatic CHF enrolled in three U.S. clinical trials involving vesnarinone, a drug for treating heart failure. Of these, 869 women were postmenopausal but were not using estrogen, 210 were post-menopausal estrogen users and 283 were premenopausal.
The study found that the mortality rate after 12 months was 27.6 percent for the first group of women, 16.4 percent for the second group and 11.6 percent for the premenopausal group.
"The use of estrogen was independently associated with decreased mortality," reported Dr. Reis. "Our study suggests that in CHF, premenopausal women and postmenopausal estrogen users have a lower mortality than postmenopausal women who do not use estrogen.
"Although the cellular and molecular mechanism for these findings have not been defined, our results indicate that endogenous and exogenous estrogen is associated with a survival benefit among women with symptomatic CHF independent of age, vesnarinone use and CHF severity," Dr. Reis added.
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