Women in Washington and across the United States are less likely to be diagnosed correctly when it comes to heart disease. They also don’t receive as aggressive a treatment regimen as men. This may be the reason that while mortality rates due to heart disease are declining in men, they are on the rise in women.
When women present in the emergency room with chest pain, their pain is often minimized. They may be tested for heart disease with tests that are reliable in men but have been found to be less reliable in women. For example, men typically present with blockages in the main coronary arteries. Women may still have coronary heart disease with open coronary arteries. This is because women often have distal smaller vessels that present abnormally. This type of heart disease doesn’t show up in typical tests. Women may go home with the incorrect diagnosis and treatment because the tests presented misleading results.
Experts recommend the use of cardiac MRI when it comes to diagnosing women with heart symptoms. The cardiac MRI looks at malfunctions or scarring in the heart and smaller blood vessels. Using this test can give physicians a better look at what is going on with the heart and allow them to treat the patient for the correct problem.
It’s the responsibility of doctors to stay aware of the latest advancements and tests available for their patients. Doing so allows patients to receive the best possible care and course of treatment. When a doctor doesn’t diagnose a patient correctly because of the use of incorrect tests and a patient is harmed, the doctor may have committed medical malpractice. For example, a woman who was released from the hospital after being told she didn’t have heart disease may later die from a heart attack. The patient’s family may be able to file a civil suit against the doctor or hospital if the incorrect diagnosis led to her death.