Research shows that women are the most common victims of failed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of heart conditions. More than 233,000 women die annually from cardiovascular disease. That's because a woman's heart attack has more varied symptoms. For example, many women don't experience chest pain. Instead, they frequently experience nausea not relieved by antacids and even vomiting during a heart attack, which leads emergency room doctors to incorrectly diagnose it as a gastric disorder.
Other female victims may complain of unusual fatigue or mild flu-like symptoms that worsen with activity, which may be misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome or a viral infection.
Studies show that emergency treatments are denied or delayed way too often when the heart attack victim is a woman. According to a recent study of emergency room treatment, women waited an average of 23 minutes longer than men for “clot-buster” treatments, which can stop a heart attack, lessening the damage to the heart muscle. Women were only a little over half as likely as men to receive “clot-busters” at all. Also, the study showed that women waited six minutes longer for an electrocardiogram than men did.
Although women are on average 10 years older than men when they arrive at the emergency room with symptoms of heart disease, they receive far
less prompt treatment and are less likely than men to be admitted to the hospital for evaluation of coronary artery disease.