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Women May Be More Likely to Experience EMS Delays for Heart Care
Date:1/14/2009

American Heart Association rapid access journal report:

Study highlights:

-- The time from the 9-1-1 call to the ambulance's arrival on the scene was similar between men and women patients.

-- Delays for women began after ambulances arrived and continued until they were delivered to emergency departments.

-- The data did not reveal why women were more likely to be delayed, but other research suggests heart conditions may not be recognized as readily, thus leading to slower response times.

DALLAS, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Women who called 9-1-1 complaining of cardiac symptoms were 52 percent more likely than men to experience delays during emergency medical services' (EMS) care, according to a report in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The data did not reveal why women were more likely to be delayed. However, other research suggests that heart conditions in women may not be recognized as readily and response may be slower as a result.

"We need to find out why women are delayed and reduce or eliminate the disparity," said Thomas W. Concannon, Ph.D., the study's lead author and assistant professor of medicine at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Mass.

In the study of nearly 6,000 men and women, researchers found that 11 percent, or 647, of the total study population were delayed (15 minutes longer than median) while in the care of EMS. They found no serious delays in the time from the 9-1-1 call to paramedics' arrival at the scene. Delays began after EMS crews arrived on scene and continued during transport to the hospital.

When researchers looked at the odds for delay, they found:

  • Women had 52 percent higher odds of being among the delay group.
  • Each additional mile traveled increa
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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