Women with the heart condition known as acute coronary syndrome are less likely to have chest pain than men, which could raise their risk of misdiagnosis, a new study finds.
Acute coronary syndrome, which includes unstable angina and heart attack, is an umbrella term for conditions where blood supply to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked, according to the American Heart Association.
Chest pain is a classic symptom, but as many as 35 percent of patients do not report chest pain. These patients are more likely to be misdiagnosed in the emergency department and have a higher risk of death compared to patients who report chest pain, the study authors explained.
The researchers looked at about 1,000 patients, aged 55 and younger, who were hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome. Thirty percent of the patients were women.
Chest pain was reported by 80 percent of patients, but women were more likely than men to not have chest pain, 19 percent versus 13.7 percent, according to the study published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Posts by Erika Schwartz, M.D
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