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Study finds women run higher risk of misdiagnosis of heart attack


The failure to diagnose a heart attack is one of the most common and deadly mistakes made by medical professionals. The findings of a new study help provide invaluable insight into this problem. It found that women run a greater risk of misdiagnosis of a heart attack in the emergency room since many do not experience chest pains.

Chest pains are a classic, well-known symptom of heart attacks. However, around 35% of people do not report the symptom to medical professionals. Those that do not experience chest pains, or fail to report it, run a higher risk of misdiagnosis in the ER. Authors of the study say these patients run an associated high risk of death of a heart attack.

In the study, researchers examined 1,000 patients 55 years old and younger. All the patients were hospitalized for heart attacks. Women comprised 30% of the study and the middle age was 49 years old. Researchers discovered 80% of patients reported chest pain. However, women in the study were more likely than men not to experience chest pain. Around 19% of women experienced no chest pain as compared to 13.7% of men. In addition to chest pain, the most common symptoms experienced by both genders were shortness of breath, weakness, feeling hot, cold sweat and pain in the left arm or shoulder area. Women experienced more of these symptoms when chest pain was not present.

The findings of the study show the fatal risks associated with a Failure to diagnose heart attacks in both men and women. Patients depend on their doctors and other medical professionals to accurately and competently treat their medical conditions. A failure to do so can result in serious injury or death. A medical malpractice claim is often the best way to enforce the legal rights of patients in this type of situation.

Source:, “Heart disease often misdiagnosed in women,” Sept. 17, 2013