NEW ORLEANS - Turns out men and women really are different at heart. At least when it comes to heart tranpslants.
New research finds that heart transplant patients have better odds of survival and a lower risk of rejection if they get organs from donors of the same sex.
Size may be part of the explanation. Men's hearts are bigger than women's and have greater pumping capacity, and men who get men's hearts fare better. But doctors think differences in hormones or immune systems between the sexes may also play a role.
The study was paid for by the federal government and led by Dr. Eric Weiss, a cardiac surgery researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He presented his findings Wednesday at an American Heart Association conference.
Unfortunately for many patients, the findings won't make much of a difference. About 2,700 Americans are waiting for a heart, and only 2,200 heart transplants are done each year.