And, if the onset of a heart attack was not recognized immediately, the EMS staff might not use sirens and lights, which have been linked to an increase in ambulance crashes.
Or, on an entirely different note, women in the study might have chosen hospitals farther away, the editorial pointed out. The researchers also found that the chances of being delayed were increased 9 to 46 percent for each additional mile traveled. Also, traveling during evening rush hour doubled delay times, and forgoing a closer hospital for a more distant one raised the odds 81 percent.
But, as Simon stressed, women also need to pay attention to their symptoms.
"If you're perimenopausal and have a risk factor and atypical symptoms, you need to be aware this could be a [heart attack]," Simon said. "Most people with nausea and vomiting will have gastroenteritis, but if you miss a heart attack, that's not acceptable."
Visit the American Heart Association for more on women and heart disease.
SOURCES: Thomas Concannon, Ph.D., assistant professor, medicine, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, Boston; Daniel I. Simon, M.D., director, Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland; Robert Greenberg, M.D., assistant professor, emergency medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and vice chair, emergency medicine, Scott & White, Temple; Jan. 14, 2009, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
All rights reserved