Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Heart Attack & Gender Medicine

"Four out of ten people believe depictions of heart attacks on TV and in films are realistic (...)."  
Rebecca Smith

We have all seen them, the Hollywood heart attacks. Not only are they too dramatic and risk people ignoring their own symptoms when they are milder (via). They also seem to have a tendency to show rather male symptoms.

Leeds University researchers studied the UK national heart attack register. Their sample included records of nearly 600.000 heart attack patients aged between 18 to 100 years old who had been admitted to 243 NHS (National Health Service) hospitals in England and Wales between April 2004 and March 2013. The study found that 198.534 patients had initially been misdiagnosed, i.e. three in ten. Controlling for gender and heart attack type (Stemi and Nstemi), the results show that women who had a final diagnosis of Stemi had a 59% greater chance of having been initially misdiagnosed compared with men while women with a final disagnosis of Nstemi had a 41% greater chance of an initial misdiagnosis.
The differences in diagnosis are "alarmingly high", better tests are currently developed to diagnose female heart attack. It is high time as undiagnosed, untreated heart attacks are likely to damage the heart muscle irreversibly. Initial misdiagnoses mean an increased risk of death (via and via).

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- Photograph of Hedy Lamarr by Alfred Eisenstaedt via