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Women's Heart Attacks Often Misdiagnosed

The Dec. 9 issue of Circulation: The Journal of the American Heart Association includes a study revealing that compared to men, women are less likely to receive treatments for the most severe form of heart attack.

The lack of treatment is a form of medical negligence that has resulted in patient injuries. The cases of over 78,000 male and female heart attack sufferers seen in one of 420 U.S. hospitals between 2001 and 2006 were examined, and the data revealed that the women were: 

  • 13 percent less likely to have artery-opening angioplasty within 90 minutes of arrival
  • 14 percent less likely to receive early aspirin
  • 25 percent less likely to get reperfusion therapy to restore blood flow
  • 10 percent less likely to be given beta blocker drugs
  • got fewer of the recommended treatments overall 

Women Twice as Likely to Die from Heart Attack

Among patients with the most serious type of heart attack — the STEMI or ST-elevation myocardial infarction — 5.5 percent of the male patients died, whereas 10.2 percent of the female patients with the same diagnosis died. The study's lead author, Dr. Hani Jneid noted, "There is evidence across the board of under treatment." 

Know the Symptoms of Heart Attack

A new program initiated by the American Heart Association aims to educate women, men and healthcare personnel about the often-subtle symptoms of heart attack in women, so that female heart attack victims can seek medical attention sooner and healthcare providers can diagnose women earlier and more accurately. 

Heart Attack Symptoms Differ by Gender

The well-known heart attack symptom of crushing chest pain is not always experienced by women; their symptoms are frequently much less obvious. If a woman experiences a few or all of the following symptoms, she should seek medical attention immediately and tell the staff that she feels she may be having a heart attack: 

  • skin clamminess, sweating
  • extreme and unexplained anxiety
  • severe shortness of breath that has no explanation
  • nausea or other gastric upset
  • unexplained lightheadedness, dizziness, blackout 

(Source: Health Us News) 

If You Were Misdiagnosed

If you or someone you love was misdiagnosed and you received substandard medical treatment for a heart attack, contact us today to schedule a private, no-cost consultation with a medical malpractice attorney who will fight to ensure you recover the compensation you need and deserve.


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