Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Women With Chest Pain Less Likely Then Men To Get Proper Treatment From Paramedics

Date:
May 15, 2009
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Women with chest pain are less likely than men to receive recommended, proven therapies while en route to the hospital, according to new research. Despite evidence showing that the drugs aspirin and nitroglycerin are important early interventions for people who may be having a heart attack, women don't get them as often as men with the same symptoms.

Women with chest pain are less likely than male patients to receive recommended, proven therapies while en route to the hospital, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Despite evidence showing that the drugs aspirin and nitroglycerin are important early interventions for people who may be having a heart attack, women don't get them as often as male patients with the same types of symptoms, says a new study that will be presented May 15, 2009 at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine's annual conference.

Related Articles


While the researchers found no differences in the types of care given by emergency medical service (EMS) providers to African-American and white patients, they are troubled by the evidence that women may be receiving sub-optimal care, and say it highlights the need for pre-hospital providers to be sensitive to the fact that women may have atypical symptoms. Since chest pain is a leading cause of emergency room visits in the United States, accounting for more than 8 million visits a year, the implications of the findings are broad.

"Women with heart attacks have higher death rates than men, so these findings are very concerning, and it's important for us to try to figure out why this is happening," says lead author Zachary Mesiel, MD, MPH, an emergency physician and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at Penn.

Heart attack damage takes place gradually, as portions of the heart muscle are deprived of oxygen over several hours. Early interventions like aspirin therapy -- which reduces clotting around the ruptured coronary plaques that grow to block blood flow to the heart -- play an important role in preventing damage to this cardiac tissue. Recent national efforts underscore the maxim that in treatment of heart attacks, "time is muscle."

Many EMS organizations, for instance, have outfitted ambulances with cardiac monitoring equipment that can send information about a patient's heart rhythm ahead to the hospital so the cardiac catheterization lab can be alerted to prepare for a patient who will need prompt treatment to open their blocked arteries. Initiatives like these have helped hospitals to reduce their so-called "door-to-balloon time," which describes the minutes between when the patient arrives at the hospital and is sent to the cardiac cath lab. The time patients spend being cared for by EMS personnel in the field or in an ambulance is also a vital part of that chain of care, so Meisel and his colleagues say emergency responders should strive to implement best practices for all chest pain patients.

The new Penn study examined 683 cases in 2006 and 2007 in which EMS was summoned for a complaint of chest pain and brought patients to one of three Philadelphia hospitals in the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The authors examined the frequency with each patients received four key EMS treatment and monitoring protocols which are called for in for chest pain patients over the age of 30. The measures included whether patients got aspirin and nitroglycerin, which relieves cardiac pain, and whether they received heart rhythm monitoring or had IV lines placed to begin medication delivery.

Results showed that women were significantly less likely than men to receive aspirin while in the care of EMS – 24 percent of them were given the drug, compared to 32 percent of men. Twenty-six percent of women got nitroglycerin, compared to 33 percent of men, and 61 percent of women had an IV line placed, compared to 70 percent of men. Women who ultimately were found to be having a heart attack upon arrival the emergency department were also significantly less likely to have received those treatments and interventions while being transported by EMS – in fact, none of them received pre-hospital aspirin. Even after the researchers adjusted for the possibility that age, race, and baseline medical risk could have played a role in these apparent disparities, the gender gaps in adherence to care protocols still remained. The gender of the medic involved in the case also did not appear to change the findings.

Previous studies have revealed gender disparities in diagnosis and treatment of chest pain and cardiac conditions in both inpatient and outpatient settings, partially because women's heart problems often present in uncommon ways that may be attributed to other, less severe illnesses or injuries. These same differences in symptoms could also account for the differences seen in the new study.

"I suspect some of the treatment differences between men and women may be related to differences is the way the chest pain symptoms are interpreted, both by the providers and by the patients themselves," Meisel says. "So if you are a patient, it's important to be direct and clear about your symptoms to all your medical providers -- even if it feels like you are telling the same story over and over again."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Women With Chest Pain Less Likely Then Men To Get Proper Treatment From Paramedics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090515191551.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2009, May 15). Women With Chest Pain Less Likely Then Men To Get Proper Treatment From Paramedics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090515191551.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Women With Chest Pain Less Likely Then Men To Get Proper Treatment From Paramedics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090515191551.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins