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Symptoms not cause of MI treatment gender discrepancies

Tuesday August 21st, 2019

Women and men display the same symptoms during myocardial infarction, according to a study published today aimed at explaining gender differences in treatment.

The research, funded by The British Heart Foundation, set out to examine whether it is true that signs and symptoms vary between the sexes.

Research nurse Amy Ferry and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, UK, recorded symptoms among 1,941 people arriving at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with suspected heart attack.

All had a troponin blood test to measure a protein released by damaged heart cells during a heart attack.

In total, 274 were diagnosed with a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, 90 women and 184 men.

In terms of symptoms, the most common for men and women was chest pain (93% for both), and pain radiating to the left arm was also similar (48% of men and 49% of women).

The less-common symptoms showed some differences however, with more women having pain that radiated to their jaw or back, and nausea. More men had heartburn, back pain, or pain that was burning, stabbing or felt like indigestion.

Details are published today (21 August) in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Ms Ferry said: “Our concern is that by incorrectly labelling women as having atypical symptoms, we may be encouraging doctors and nurses not to investigate or start treatment for coronary heart disease in women.

“Both men and women present with an array of symptoms but our study shows that so-called typical symptoms in women should always be seen as a red flag for a potential heart attack.”

Ferry, A. et al. Journal of the American Heart Association 21 August 2019

Tags: Heart Health | Men's Health | NHS | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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