Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'She's too young,' doctor said. 'It can't be a heart attack.' But it was

"Elizabeth Hein was 27 when she had a heart attack. Doctors doubted her symptoms. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., yet a wealth of data shows female cardiac patients receive inferior medical care compared with men. Too many physicians still discount the idea that a woman could be suffering from heart disease, delaying or denying needed medical interventions, experts note. Most community hospitals in the U.S. still are not following guidelines for treating women with heart attacks. And primary care doctors don't do as much as they could to emphasize prevention. As a result, women are failing to reap the full benefits of enormous advances in cardiovascular medicine. The point was underscored this month by a study published in the journal Circulation finding that women who have heart attacks receive fewer recommended treatments in hospitals than men, including aspirin, beta blocker medications, angioplasties, clot-busting drugs and surgeries to re-establish blood flow. Women with the most serious heart attacks, known as STEMIs, were significantly more likely to die at a hospital than men" - Chicago Tribune

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