By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —New research finds a discrepancy in the way male and female heart failure patients are treated.

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Scientist in this study focused on implantable devices, such as pacemakers. They found women receive these devices less often than men, even though they’d benefit just as much.

Implantable heart devices can be lifesavers for patients with heart failure or who have an irregular heartbeat.

A study looked at the outcomes of more than a quarter of a million heart patients who’d received an implantable device.

Researchers found, women were less than 30 percent likely to receive an implantable device, however, their survival rate following CRT therapy was thirty percent better than that of men.

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“Men and women had identical survival following defibrillator therapy and this I think is a first,” Dr. Niraj Varma of the Cleveland Clinic explained. “For re-synchronization therapies, women had a much better outcome following CRT therapy.”

With an aging population, doctors are seeing more heart failure patients than ever before but the study shows women aren’t getting the same level of care as men.

Some think there needs to be a different set of guidelines when it comes to treating women with heart failure.

“There are sex-related differences, which I think are very important to understand, to identify, characterize and therefore, we can apply our defibrillator therapy and re-synchronization therapy more precisely to the patients who need it most,” Dr. Varma explained.

Doctors say it’s important for female heart patients to talk to their doctors and ask questions, specifically about implanted devices and when they might be appropriate.

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The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Stephanie Stahl