Delayed Diagnoses Affect Treatment in Women with Heart Disease
Symptoms of heart disease and heart attack can present differently in women and men, but is there a gender difference when it comes to treatment for cardiovascular issues? There may be, but according to a study published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the difference is not directly due to gender, but to delayed diagnoses of heart disease in women.
According to the researchers, women are typically older and have more comorbid conditions – diabetes and obesity, for example – than men when they first present with cardiovascular disease. These factors can increase risk when it comes to complex surgical procedures for certain heart conditions, sometimes precluding women from treatment.
One reason for delayed diagnoses in women may be that current testing strategies, including exercise stress tests, often provide “nonspecific” results in women. Newer diagnostic tools, like coronary computed tomography and myocardial perfusion imaging, may address these limitations and allow for earlier diagnosis and better treatment in women with severe heart disease.