Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diagnostic confidence key for prompt treatment for women with heart symptoms

Date:
September 13, 2012
Source:
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health
Summary:
Doctors who believe that women have "atypical" coronary heart disease symptoms are less certain when diagnosing heart disease in women. As a result, women are less likely than men to receive treatments for an urgent cardiac event, finds a new study.

Doctors who believe that women have "atypical" coronary heart disease symptoms are less certain when diagnosing heart disease in women. As a result, women are less likely than men to receive treatments for an urgent cardiac event, finds a new study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Related Articles


"Some physicians with lower diagnostic certainty were less likely to order medications and tests appropriate for an urgent cardiac situation, which opens the possibility for delayed care or poorer outcomes for women who present with the same coronary heath disease symptoms as men," said Lisa C. Welch, lead author and director of the Center for Qualitative Research at the New England Research Institutes.

Welch said that framing heart disease symptoms that appear in women as "atypical" in comparison to symptoms commonly observed in men lowers diagnostic certainty for some physicians. "This finding was unexpected because efforts in recent years to incorporate women in the knowledge base for cardiac disease were intended to facilitate timely, optimal treatment."

In the study, 256 primary care physicians watched one of 16 videos of male and female patient-actors of varied ages, race, and socio-economic status exhibiting the same cardiac symptoms. The doctors then discussed possible diagnoses and treatment plans. Though physicians considered coronary heart disease for both male and female patients, they were more likely to describe women's symptoms as "atypical," "non-specific" or "vague." As a result, the physicians suggested attending foremost to cardiac concerns less often for women than for men.

Donna Arnett, Ph.D., president of the American Heart Association and Professor and Chair of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said, "What interested me was that gender doesn't appear to be as much of an issue in this research as is certainty -- how some doctors make decisions based on symptoms which they feel certain are representative of heart disease."

Arnett added, "But decisions based on popular knowledge of what constitutes atypical cardiac symptoms can have unintended, misguided consequences. Sweeping generalizations about symptoms of heart disease cannot be made because women present with a full range of signs and symptoms including those that are considered typical in both men and women."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. The original article was written by Sharyn Alden. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. C. Welch, K. E. Lutfey, E. Gerstenberger, M. Grace. Gendered Uncertainty and Variation in Physicians' Decisions for Coronary Heart Disease: The Double-Edged Sword of "Atypical Symptoms". Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 2012; 53 (3): 313 DOI: 10.1177/0022146512456026

Cite This Page:

Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Diagnostic confidence key for prompt treatment for women with heart symptoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913104051.htm>.
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. (2012, September 13). Diagnostic confidence key for prompt treatment for women with heart symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913104051.htm
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Diagnostic confidence key for prompt treatment for women with heart symptoms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913104051.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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