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Eur J Emerg Med. 1999 Dec;6(4):311-5.

Is there a gender difference in aetiology of chest pain and symptoms associated with acute myocardial infarction?

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


Many previous studies have shown that there is a gender difference in terms of the use of diagnostic procedures and the treatment of patients with chest pain. The mechanisms behind these observations are less well described. This survey describes gender differences in the aetiology of chest pain and symptoms associated with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Among the patients with symptoms of acute chest pain, in the emergency medical department women less frequently develop an AMI and are less frequently given a diagnosis of ischaemic heart disease. Among patients developing an AMI, women differ from men by less frequently reporting chest pain, more frequently reporting nausea, vomiting, abdominal complaints, fatigue and dyspnoea and less frequently reporting sweating. With regard to the localization of pain in AMI, women differ from men by more frequently reporting pain in the back, neck and jaw. In terms of electrocardiographic changes, women seem to have less marked ST deviations than men. However, we do not believe that these differences between women and men are substantial enough and, as a result, we do not recommend that the initial medical care of patients seeking medical attention with chest pain or other symptoms raising a suspicion of AMI should be differentiated with regard to gender. The differences described here might partly explain the prolonged delay until hospital admission in women suffering from AMI.

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