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Women and heart attack: Study finds failure to recognize symptoms, failure to treat appropriately
Date:5/6/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich. The gender gap is alive and well in heart disease, a new international study finds, with women differing from men on everything from symptoms to treatment in both heart attack and severe chest pain.

One of the most striking findings was that women were twice as likely as men to have normal or mild results on an exam of their hearts blood vessels, with no single blockage taking up more than 50 percent of any one blood vessel.

This was despite the fact that their other test results showed they were definitely having a heart attack, or a form of chest pain called unstable angina.

The study is being published online today in the journal Heart by a team led by researchers from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. Its based on data from 25,755 men and women in 14 countries who had a heart attack or chest pain episode between 1999 and 2006, and are included in the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events.

All of the patients had an angiogram, which allows doctors to see blockages in the hearts blood vessels a major cause of heart attacks and chest pain. The lack of serious blockages may have something to do with other differences the researchers found: differences in how women were treated and how well they fared.

In all, among patients with the same level of coronary artery disease, women were significantly less likely than men to receive drugs called beta blockers, statins and ACE inhibitors all of which are considered crucial to preventing further heart episodes. And no matter how serious their blockages, women were less likely to receive an angioplasty or a stent to open up their blood vessels.

By six months after their heart attack or angina attack, women with more advanced coronary artery disease were more likely than men to have died, or to have suffered another heart attack, a stroke or another problem that sent them to the hospital.

The researchers also fou
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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