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CMAJ. 2008 Sep 23;179(7):659-67. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.071763.

Presentation of stable angina pectoris among women and South Asian people.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK.



There is speculation that women and South Asian people are more likely than men and white people to report atypical angina and that they are less likely to undergo invasive management of angina. We sought to determine whether atypical symptoms of angina pectoris in women and South Asians impacted clinically important outcomes and clinical management.


We prospectively identified 2189 South Asian people and 5605 white people with recent-onset chest pain at 6 chest-pain clinics in the United Kingdom. We documented hospital admissions for acute coronary syndromes, coronary deaths as well as coronary angiography and revascularization procedures.


Atypical chest pain was reported by more women than men (56.5% vs 54.5%, p < 0.054) and by more South Asian patients than white patients (59.9% vs 52.5%, p < 0.001). Typical symptoms were associated with coronary death or acute coronary syndromes among women (hazard ratio [HR] 2.30, 95% CI 1.70-3.11, p < 0.001) but not among men (HR 1.23, 95% CI 0.96-1.57, p = 0.10). Typical symptoms were associated with coronary outcomes in both South Asian and white patients. Among those with typical symptoms, women (HR 0.76, 95% CI 0.63-0.92, p = 0.004) and South Asian patients (HR 0.52, 95% CI 0.41-0.67, p < 0.001) were less likely than men and white patients to receive angiography.


Compared to those with atypical chest pain, women and South Asian patients with typical pain had worse clinical outcomes. However, sex and ethnic background did not explain differences in the use of invasive procedures.

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