After a 25 year career as an interventional cardiologist, Dr. Cindy L. Grines, FACC, FSCA still loves her profession. She has enjoyed building her practice by cultivating relationships with patients, family, and her beloved staff. She loves the immediate gratification she gets from watching a critically ill patient’s condition improve rapidly. There really is nothing quite like the rush of seeing blood flow restored to the heart muscle in real-time.
The one issue that Dr. Grines does lament is the lack of women in her chosen career. In a recent article, Grines shares her experience as an interventional cardiologist and her insight into the notable lack of women in the profession.
Currently, more than 30% of all medical residents are female,
“ (…) needless to say, we’re not afraid of working long hours. Perhaps, women are not going into interventional cardiology because, unlike surgery, trainees are not exposed to the subspecialty during medical school or residency,” proposes, Dr. Grines.
Then there is the issue of potential radiation exposure inherent in interventional cardiology. Grines addresses this concern in the article describing the new CorPath® (Corindus) robot technology her practice and cath lab have implemented. She believes that it has dual advantages of decreasing radiation exposure, as well as, lessening musculoskeletal stress. She urges interventional cardiologists to educate themselves on reducing occupational hazards and exposure.
A 2014 study looking at data from 2.5 million PCI procedures, across 1,431 US hospitals, and spanning 4 years found:
- 4% of Interventional Cardiologists are Female
- 3% of PCI Procedures Were Performed by Women
- Mortality Rates among Female Operators was 1.8%
- Mortality Rate for Elective PCI Cases Performed by Female Interventionists was < 0.5%.
The study was conducted by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) Women in Innovations (WIN) initiative of which Dr. Grines is chair.
WIN Co-founder Roxana Mehran, M.D., FSCAI, encourages women to pursue interventional cardiology. Citing that presentation, risk factors, and treatment considerations of women’s heart disease are different from those in men, she goes on to say,
“Female interventional cardiologists can be attuned to these differences, can provide support to women managing heart disease and can be important advocates in raising awareness of heart disease in women.”
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