Ann Conkle
Feb 21, 2012

Women with heart attack more likely to present without chest pain and have higher in-hospital mortality

Among heart attack patients, women are more likely than men to present to a hospital without chest pain and also have a higher rate of in-hospital death following a heart attack than men within the same age group, although these differences decrease with increasing age. "Optimal recognition and timely management of myocardial infarction [MI; heart attack], especially for reducing patient delay in seeking acute medical care, is critical. The presence of chest pain/discomfort is the hallmark symptom of MI," according to background information in the article. Despite this well-accepted symptom, analyses have shown that a large number of patients with MI lack chest pain. Further research is needed to improve the current understanding of underlying pathophysiology and develop sex-tailored health messages to encourage men and women with signs and symptoms of acute coronary syndromes to seek care promptly, which will result in improvement in the care and survival of women.