Women’s Delay in Getting to Hospital Doubles Their Risk of Mortality

emergency-heart-attack-women

 Women were nearly twice as likely to die in the hospital compared with men, with in-hospital deaths reported for 12 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the study.

 

Women Don’t Get to Hospital Fast Enough During Heart Attack

 

Pre-hospital delays remain unacceptably long in women, and time matters,” said Raffaele Bugiardini, M.D., professor of cardiology, University of Bologna, Italy, and lead author of the study, which examined records of 7,457 European patients enrolled from 2010 to 2014 in an international registry to study heart disease and treatments.

Women suffering a heart attack wait much longer than men to call emergency medical services and face significantly longer delays getting to a hospital equipped to care for them

 Women were also less likely to undergo treatment to open clogged arteries compared with men (76 versus 80.4 percent), which tend to work best within the first hour after a heart attack starts.

Many delays occurred because women simply waited longer than men to call emergency medical services, with women waiting an average of one hour compared to 45 minutes for men.

More than 70 percent of women in the study took longer than an hour to get to a hospital that could treat them, while less than 30 percent of men took that long.

“Our findings should set off an alarm for women, who may not understand their personal risk of heart disease and may take more time to realize they are having a heart attack and need urgent medical help,” Bugiardini said.  

One challenge is that women typically don’t have the “classic” signs of a heart attack. For example, instead of crushing chest pain, they may have shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, or pain in the back, neck or jaw. These symptoms may develop slowly over hours or days and even come and go. Women and medical personnel may also attribute symptoms to other health conditions such as indigestion, which may lead to misdiagnoses.

These findings reflect similar trends seen in the United States where more than 400,000 women have heart attacks each year and demonstrate a need for broader quality indicators.

American College of Cardiology

March 5, 2015

Original Article:

SEX-RELATED DIFFERENCES IN ACUTE CORONARY CARE AMONG PATIENTS WITH MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION: THE ROLE OF PRE-HOSPITAL DELAY

Dr. Parker’s Commentary

The reasons for the average woman delaying in getting to the hospital is not clear from this article;  I suspect it is somewhat related to woman often not putting themselves first and not wanting to inconvenience others.

However, there was also an un-explained delay in getting to the hospital once the call was made.

Note also that this research was done in Italy; the results might be different in other counties.

 

“I will survive.”

-Gloria Gaynort-  

 

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Dr. Parker is a 68 year old heart attack survivor and cardiac psychologist. He is an Honors graduate of Stanford University with forty years of clinical experience. Dr. Parker is available for consultation on heart matters. Contact him at heartcurrents(at)gmail.com.