Underrepresentation of Women, Elderly in Cardiology Trials Persists

Despite some improved trends, women and the elderly continue to be underrepresented in cardiology clinical trials, according to a new analysis published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. The researchers looked at the 25 most cited cardiology articles each year between 1996 and 2015, looking at age, percentage of women, funding, sample size, disease condition, intervention type and exclusion criteria. Outcomes of interest included mean age and the percentage of women over time. The analysis included data from over 500 studies. 

According to the results, gaps in representation were pronounced for coronary artery disease (-5.0 years; -27.2% women) and heart failure (-6.0 years; -25.4% women) when compared to population prevalence derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers also reported that mean age and percentage of women over time did increase “slightly but significantly” over time. 

“The current lack of representation means that physicians have to apply findings based on a male-dominant and younger population without being sure that these results should be extrapolated to women or older people in general,” lead author Quoc Dinh Nguyen, professor on the Université de Montreal Faculty of Medicine, said in a news release. 

Source: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes