A recent study carried across five cities in India found that most women patients, suffering from coronary problems related to heart arrhythmia, sought treatment too late.
Heart arrhythmia implies irregularity in pumping action of blood by the heart, which can cause coronary diseases, including sudden cardiac arrest.
"During the study, we found women to be in more advanced stages of heart disease than their male counterparts, which meant that they were coming for treatment much later," Ajay Naik, a cardiologist, said.
The study was the pilot phase of the Pan Arrhythmia and Heart Failure Registry being conducted by Medtronic across the country.
The pilot phase studied the cases of 586 patients in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad and Nagpur, between April and December 2007, and involved six cardiologists and 26 physicians.
The study also found that in 385 cases, despite the patient requiring to be referred to a cardiologist, the physician they consulted did not do so.
It was important to improve awareness of arrhythmia-related coronary diseases among physicians, especially regarding the lethality of this condition, Naik said.
Among other findings of the study, it was observed that 56 per cent of the patients needed implants like pacemakers to correct the irregular heartbeat but only 26 per cent patients actually got one.
"The problem is that only one-tenth of the patients, who should get implants, are able to get it due to financial constraints," Naik noted.
However, even in the cases where people could afford it, the number of those who got device-based assistance to correct heart arrhythmia was low due to lack of awareness, he observed.
Medtronic now plans to conduct a new study over the next three years, across 25 cities, to create a Pan Arrhythmia and Heart Failure Registry.
"In the study, we plan to include 15,000 patients, 70 cardiologists and 700 physicians from cities across the country. The findings would give medical practitioners and health policy makers data they can use," Milind Shah, Managing Director of Medtronic India, said.