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Women's delayed heart disease diagnoses impact surgery options

A recent study, published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, has found that women presenting with symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD) appear to be diagnosed significantly later than their male counterparts with the same symptoms of the condition.

Researchers found that most women diagnosed with the condition generally must appear to be suffering from other related medical conditions such as diabetes or obesity before a doctor gives their symptoms the same attention a man would get. They additionally found that male patients generally are given much more thorough evaluations and treatments earlier on than their female counterparts.

Because these women get diagnosed with CAD much further on down the line, the researchers note that they often face complex, high risk arterial revascularization procedures than the less invasive grafting ones that men receive.

As part of their research, the scientists working on this study reviewed nearly 20,000 cases from between 1990 and 2015 in which both men and women had a coronary artery bypass grafting surgery performed on them.

The researcher found that, while the number of patients having a bilateral radial and thoracic artery surgeries was the same, regardless of gender, far fewer women received arterial grafts than men.

The study's authors note that one reason women may be diagnosed at slower rates than men is because, up until recently, testing for CAD appear to be less effective when used on women than men. They note that newer technology such as coronary computed tomography has been shown to be effective for diagnosing CAD.

It's believed that by providing women with earlier diagnosis of their condition, they'll be better candidates for some of the safer procedures that men have long been able to have performed on them. This will ultimately reduce women's postoperative recovery times and give way to a higher survival rate.

If you suspect that your delayed diagnosis caused unnecessary or irreparable harm, then a Tucson medical malpractice attorney can advise you of your legal options available in your case.

Source: Science Daily, "Delayed diagnosis, not gender, affects women’s treatment for heart disease," Sep. 28, 2017

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