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New research compares heart attack symptoms between men and women

Both men and women in Massachusetts could benefit from the results of recent studies that have been conducted regarding heart attacks. Although symptoms may vary from men to women, one common symptom seems to be consistent in both sexes. The chest pains experienced during an acute myocardial infarction, better known as a heart attack, do not differ much.

In a recent six-year study by European researchers in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, 1,700 men and 800 women were evaluated for heart attack symptoms. They had all experienced chest pains and had been to an emergency room within 12 hours. The researchers' findings were that a lower percentage of women who experienced chest pain were actually experiencing a heart attack; specifically, 18 percent for women as compared to 22 percent for men. On Nov. 25, these findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine's online journal.

Cardiac research that is gender-specific is crucial, according to Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital's director of the women's cardiovascular health program. She stated that women's chest pains are often not taken seriously. According to a cardiology professor at Switzerland's University Hospital Basel, doctors should conduct a cardiac troponin test, as well as an electrocardiogram, to prevent missing a patient with AMI. This is because the verbiage that a patient uses when describing their chest pains may be lacking in accuracy when it comes to a heart attack diagnosis.

Failure by doctors and hospitals to diagnose and misdiagnosis can affect both men and women equally. In cases of any missed diagnosis of a heart attack, cancer, or any other serious event, a patient could be entitled to seek compensation from their physician or hospital.

Source: Huffington Post, "Chest Pain Symptoms In Heart Attack Similar For Both Men And Women", Cari Nierenberg, November 25, 2013

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