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J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2003 Jul-Aug;18(3):184-96.

Perceptions of symptoms of myocardial infarction related to health care seeking behaviors in the elderly.

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Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Research on acute myocardial infarction (AMI) suggests that older persons may delay significantly longer than younger persons between the first appearance of symptoms of AMI and seeking treatment and that this delay is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The factors that potentially influence delay in older persons can be grouped into 4 categories: (a) symptom attribution to aging, (b) symptom severity and duration, (c) symptom attribution to comorbid and chronic conditions, and (d) previous experience with cardiac problems. This article explores the link between symptom interpretation and health care seeking behaviors in elderly patients with AMI as it relates to delay in seeking treatment for AMI. Potential nursing interventions are presented.

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