Women's Heart Attacks Often More Deadly

And they might not be accompanied by chest pain

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 21, 2012 6:29 PM CST

(Newser) – A major new study of heart attack victims presents cautionary stats for women: They are less likely to experience the classic symptom of chest pain and, perhaps because of that, they are more likely to die at the hospital than men, report USA Today and WebMD. It may be that both doctors and the women themselves don't realize that a heart attack is taking place, at least initially, which results in delayed treatment. The upshot is that 15% of women younger than 55 hospitalized with heart attacks die, compared to 10% of men.

"It's been sinking in to cardiologists for a while that women having heart attacks are more likely to have symptoms other than the classic chest pain syndrome that we see in the movies," says a cardiologist not involved with the study. "I was shocked, though, at how closely this was associated with worse outcomes and more cardiac death in women with heart attacks. This study makes me worried that we still don't get it." The other symptoms to watch for: nausea, shortness of breath, vomiting, light-headedness, pain in the back or jaw, and sudden, crippling fatigue.

Women having heart attacks are more likely to die in the hospital than men, a new study says.
Women having heart attacks are more likely to die in the hospital than men, a new study says.   (Shutterstock)
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