A new study that compares post-aortic surgery outcomes for both men and women has some unsettling findings for the latter.

It’s a heart surgery Cindy Waddick underwent two years ago.

“I really didn’t have symptoms at all until October that year and presented and the doctors thought I was having a heart attack,” she says.

But Waddick was actually experiencing complications in her aorta, which turned into an aortic aneurism resulting in surgery.

“It was very scary but once I started feeling better the uphill climb was quick after that."

While she’s recovered well from the surgery, that’s not the case for all women according to a new study from the Lawson Research Institute.

It shows women are more likely to experience poorer outcomes then men.

“Women experience significant and worse outcomes, almost two times the risk of death or stroke and 40 per cent higher risk of complications than men,” says Dr. Michael Chu.

Chu is a Lawson scientist who, along with his research team, gathered data from 1,700 patients - both men and women - who had undergone major aortic surgery at 10 centres across the country.

The shocking numbers in this study means the next step is to find out why female patients are more at risk than men.

Chu believes there are several possibilities as to why there is a vast difference between the sexes.

“In general what we found is that women tend to present at an older age, they tend to have more co-morbidities or health problems and they also presented with larger aneurysms for their size.”

Chu says the focus now that the study has been completed is to work on methods of early detection and make earlier diagnoses in women, as well as investigate newer techniques and technology when it comes to aortic surgeries.