Women’s Heart Attacks And Chest Pain

February 22, 2012 by staff 

Women’s Heart Attacks And Chest Pain, Women, especially younger women, are more likely than men to show up at the hospital with no chest pain or discomfort after having a heart attack — and they are also more likely to die than men of the same age, according to a U.S. study.

That lack of symptoms can result in delayed medical care and differences in treatment, said researchers, whose findings appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“They might not even know they’re having a heart attack,” said John Canto, from the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida, who worked on the report.

He noted that while the results are based on a study of more than a million heart attack patients, they are still preliminary. But, he added, they do challenge the notion that chest pain and discomfort should be considered “the hallmark symptom” for all heart attack patients.

“If our results are in fact true, I would argue that rather than the one-size-fits-all symptom message, we also have to tailor that message to say that women less than 55 are also at higher risk for atypical presentation,” Canto told Reuters Health.

Such “atypical presentation” can include symptoms such as unexplained shortness of breath, or pain in areas including the jaw, neck, arms, back and stomach.

Canto and his colleaguesanlyzed medical records in a national database of heart attack patients from 1994 to 2006, including about 1.1 million people treated at close to 2,000 hospitals.

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