Conventional wisdom has it that woman and men experience symptoms of heart attack in different ways. As is often the case in life, however, the conventional wisdom may have it all wrong. According to a study just published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, men and woman may actually experience heart attacks in the same ways—information that’s essential for you to know the next time a patient presents while experiencing a possible MI. For years, it’s been thought that women are more likely to experience heartburn or back pain when experiencing a heart attack, while men were thought to have more “traditional” symptoms like chest pain, and pain radiating down the left arm. The JAHA study, however, indicates that women are even more likely than men to have those symptoms. The study considered the cases of nearly 2,000 people who presented to emergency rooms with suspected acute coronary syndrome. Chest pain was the most common complaint in 91% of men and 92% of women. Other typical symptoms of a heart attack were recorded as being more common among women than men, as well. The point is not to dismiss the notion that women who present with heartburn or back pain could be having an MI, but to broaden your ideas about what the “typical” heart attack looks like in a given patient. Assess accordingly.

 

 

Know the Difference Between Male and Female MI Symptoms? (Hint: It’s a Trick Question)
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