Women More Likely to Be Victims of Heart Attack Misdiagnosis


heart-1767552_1280-300x169Women are approximately 50% more likely to be wrongly misdiagnosed after a heart attack, a dangerous trend that places their lives at severe risk.

According to a new study, which focused on patients admitted to NHS hospitals in Britain, as many as 3 in 10 female patients have an initial diagnosis that is different from the final diagnosis.

There are two different types of heart attack: A Stemi attack involves a complete blockage of the coronary artery that is responsible for supplying blood to the heart muscle. However, the NStemi type of heart attack involves a partial blockage of one or more arteries. The NStemi type is more common, although both of these types of heart attacks can result in significant harm to the cardiac muscle.

In the study, the researchers found that women who were finally diagnosed with a Stemi heart attack had a 59% higher likelihood of an early misdiagnosis, compared to male patients. On the other hand, women who were finally diagnosed with an NStemi type of heart attack had a 41% higher likelihood of an early misdiagnosis.

The findings of the study seem to stress the great risk to women from a heart attack misdiagnosis and the need to enhance testing techniques in order to make sure that women have access to more accurate diagnoses of heart attacks. Failure to enhance diagnosis and screening processes could have long-term harmful effects of women, because the longer the delay in diagnosis and treatment, the greater the impact on the long-term health of the woman. Cardiac muscles can suffer irreparable damage when treatment doesn’t begin in time.

The researchers hasten to mention that although the current scenario is disturbing, there are better screening tests in the pipeline. In the future, a female heart attack diagnosis may be markedly more accurate than they are now. For instance, when different criteria were applied to a test that is routinely used to screen a person for heart attack, women were much more likely to correctly be diagnosed as having a heart attack.

Heart disease is a major killer of women, killing as many as 289,000 women in 2013 alone. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), approximately one in every four female fatalities in the United States is linked to heart attack or heart disease. In most women, a heart attack is the first sign that something is wrong with their cardiac health. When a heart attack is misdiagnosed, or when a diagnosis is not completed in time, the woman cannot get life-saving treatment.

If your loved one has suffered a medical injury that you believe is the result of a late diagnosis or a wrong diagnosis, speak with an Indiana medical malpractice attorney at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP, and discuss your legal chances of a claim. Call us for a free consultation.