Women are more likely than men to die after a heart attack, and some researchers have suggested a reason: Doctors may be misdiagnosing women more often because their symptoms differ from those experienced by men.
But a study published Monday indicates that too much has been made of gender differences in chest pain, the hallmark symptom of heart disease. Although the researchers found some distinctions, no pattern was clearly more characteristic of women or could be used to improve heart attack diagnosis in women, the authors concluded.
“We should stop treating women differently at the emergency room when they present with chest pain and discomfort,” said Dr. Maria Rubini Gimenez, a cardiologist at University Hospital Basel and lead author of the new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Instead, she said, all patients with acute chest pain must be evaluated for heart attack with appropriate diagnostics, including an electrocardiogram and blood tests.