Oftentimes, when it comes to certain health issues, we automatically assume that only certain genders are at risk. Take for example cases involving failure to diagnose breast cancer. While men can get this disease too, the majority of cases involve women and most awareness campaigns target female audiences. Still, as bad as this is, most of us are laymen and can’t always be expected to detect the symptoms of diseases and health problems that may not be the norm for our gender.
Doctors, however, need to be held to a much higher standard, because when people come to them for diagnosis and they miss something they shouldn’t have, it can lead to catastrophic injury and even death. This issue has come up of late, because there have been reports of more and more cases of doctors failing to diagnose heart attacks in women.
How Are Doctors Failing to Diagnose Heart Attacks in Women?
According to a report in the Independent, a new study discovered that women are twice as likely to receive a heart attack misdiagnosis from a doctor than a man. Data used in the study showed that nearly 30 percent of female heart attack patients had an initial diagnosis that differed from their final diagnosis.
The study was conducted in the UK at Leeds University. Researchers looked at data from April 2004 to March 2013, which included an estimated 600,000 heart attack patients. The ages of the patients ranged from 18 to 100 and the patients were treated at 243 different hospitals. Among the 600,000 patients, researchers found over 198,000 cases of heart attack misdiagnosis.
Study data revealed that there was a disparity in the numbers based on the type of heart attack the women had. One type of heart attack is the Stemi heart attack. Stemi attacks involve a blockage of the body’s main artery. The other type is Nstemi. Nstemi is the more common type of heart attack. It involves a partial blockage of one or multiple arteries. Women with Stemi heart attacks had a risk of suffering misdiagnosis that was 59 percent more than their male counterparts. Nstemi heart attack victims had a 41 percent greater chance of heart attack misdiagnosis than a man.
Doctors believe that more tests and tests that are more accurate at detecting heart attacks in men and women are needed to help stop cases of heart attack misdiagnosis from growing.
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