A recent study shows women having heart attacks experience higher than 30% longer wait time from the onset of symptoms to hospital arrival than men and a higher than 20% longer time from hospital arrival to cardiac intervention compared to men. With much longer wait times, it's no wonder cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. The study, co-authored by Puja Parikh, MD, MPH, states that a lack of symptom recognition in women and physicians is to blame. Women more often present with atypical symptoms such as neck pain, back pain, nausea and vomiting – ailments that can easily be assigned various diagnoses in the Emergency Department. However, men tend to experience chest pain, a typical identifier of myocardial infarction. So how can women and medical professionals improve these odds?
Dr. Puja Parikh is the Co-Director of Stony Brook Medicine's Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement program and is available for interviews on the difficulties facing women and emergency medical systems in interpreting atypical cardiac symptoms in women.