Women with Chest Pain Not Treated the Same as Men by EMS

woman heart attack Women have been shown to be more likely to die than men when they have a heart attack. When a woman arrives at a hospital with a heart attack she is not treated as aggressively as a man. This may be because women do not always have chest pain – the cardinal sign of a heart attack.

A recent study presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine conference (May 2009) found that even women with chest pain do not receive the same treatment as men from ambulance personnel. Over 680 patients with chest pain transported by EMS (ambulance and paramedics) to several Philadelphia hospitals were studied. Women were less likely to receive aspirin, nitroglycerin, or an intravenous line by ambulance providers where they presented with chest pain. These are standard life saving procedures for any patient with chest pain/heart attack. In fact, none of the women with a heart attack received aspirin by EMS providers before hospital arrival. Chewable aspirin should be administered at the onset of a heart attack to help decrease the amount of heart muscle damage and improve survival.

This is a surprising finding since ambulance care is supposed to follow a specific protocol; gender should not be a determining factor. Ambulance personnel need to become familiar with the atypical heart attack symptoms women exhibit (chest discomfort, shoulder blade pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and overwhelming fatigue). Women also need to learn these atypical symptoms and state they think they may be having a heart attack.

This was a small study only performed in one state but should increase awareness among other EMS providers.

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” available at www.heart-strong.com

8 Responses to Women with Chest Pain Not Treated the Same as Men by EMS

  1. […]  Women have been shown to be more likely to die than men when they have a heart attack. When a woman arrives at a hospital with a heart attack she is not treated as aggressively as a man. This may be because women do not always have chest pain – the cardinal sign of a heart attack. A recent study presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine conference (May 2009) found that even women with chest pain do not receive the same treatment as men from ambulance personnel. Over 680 patient Early Menopause Symptoms… […]

  2. […] calls attention to EMS worker treatment of women heart attack victims, citing a study that found they are treated more casually than men in the event of a heart attack […]

  3. Mind Mart says:

    Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms…

    Not everyone has pain when they have a heart attack unfortunately, and some people don’t even have these common symptoms. Women in fact, often have pain between their shoulder blades on their back but nowhere else when they have a heart attack, a…

  4. brian says:

    I agree with Mind Mart that it’s important to remember that Women often have different symptoms, which are sometimes harder to identify as heart attack symptoms. I would imagine that the delay in diagnosis is probably related to the delay or the non-treatment of Aspirin to women.

    Anyway, I found your post quite interesting and noteworthy and I even blogged about it over on my site. I’ll be sure to check back on your blog often. Thank you Carnival of Healing for bringing me to your site. Have a great week.

  5. patricia says:

    Some 15 years ago when I had my first baby I lost a lot of blood and became severely anaemic (My hemoglobin level was 6). I didn’t get a blood transfusion andI had a really awful pain between my shoulder blades and awful nausea for 3 or four days. The pain was so bad I was literally waiting for the next dose of pain relief. I wonder now if I had a heart attack. Is it possible to tell this long after?

  6. heartstrong says:

    Yes you can tell – you should talk to your healthcare provider. The tests that may be able to tell if you have any heart damage are: electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test.

  7. patricia says:

    Thank you I will get checked out.

  8. Paula Dearen says:

    I was so happy to find your site. I am a cardic patient that has lived 14 years longer than the doctors gave me. Come visit my blog that I want to start as an interactive blog.

    Paula Dearen

    http://pkd18.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!59CFA635C0887E65!181.entry

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