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Study: Women with hard to diagnose chest pain symptoms at higher risk for cardiovascular events
Date:5/11/2009

LOS ANGELES (EMBARGOED UNTIL MAY 11, 2009; 3 pm Central Daylight Time) Many physicians are presented with the following scenario: a woman comes into the office complaining of chest pain, undergoes a stress test to evaluate the chest pain, and the stress test results suggest coronary artery disease, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. She is then referred for an angiogram to look at the coronary arteries and despite her symptoms and the abnormal stress test, she is told that the tests didn't find anything of clinical significance and is sent home without treatment. However, a new study may change this by offering greater insight into the causes behind chest pain in women and how it manifests differently in women than it does in men. The study, published in the May 11 Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that women with chest pain but without coronary artery disease are at an elevated risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.

"These results combined with prior work suggest that women are not just smaller versions of men when it comes to heart disease," said C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of the Women's Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the chair of the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE). Sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the WISE studies began in 1997 and have pointed out how differently men and women experience symptoms of coronary heart disease. "Women and men experience heart disease differently and require different treatments," added Bairey Merz.

"Our findings challenge the accepted belief in the medical community that these patients should be considered low-risk, and points towards the need for a different treatment regimen for these patients moving forward," said Martha Gulati, MD, first author of the study, cardiologist and associate director of the Center for Women's Cardiovascular Health at Northwestern Memorial's B
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Contact: Sally Stewart
Sally.stewart@cshs.org
310-248-6566
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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