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Fewer Women in Cardiovascular Trials, but Representation Improving

Representation of women varies with disease and trial characteristics, but overall, men still dominate

THURSDAY, Feb. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Men still dominate participation in cardiovascular clinical trials, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in Circulation.

Xurui Jin, M.D., from Duke Kunshan University in Suzhou, China, and colleagues systematically assessed the participation of women in completed cardiovascular trials registered in ClinicalTrials.gov between 2010 and 2017. The female-to-male ratio was calculated for each trial.

The researchers identified 740 completed cardiovascular trials that included 862,652 adults (38.2 percent women). The median female-to-male ratio of each trial was 0.51 with variance by age group (1.02 in ≤55 years old versus 0.40 in 61- to 65-year-olds). Differences in the female-to-male ratio were also seen by type of intervention (0.44 for procedural trials versus 0.78 for lifestyle intervention trials), disease type (0.34 for acute coronary syndrome versus 3.20 for pulmonary hypertension), region (0.45 for Western Pacific versus 0.55 for the Americas), funding/sponsor type (0.14 for government-funded versus 0.73 for multiple sponsors), and trial size (0.56 for smaller versus 0.49 for larger trials). Compared with previous periods, there were significant increases in participation prevalence ratios for stroke and heart failure trials in 2013 to 2017.

“Future efforts should build on previous successes and target key areas for improvement with multifactorial approaches to enhance recruitment of women,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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