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Women's Acute Coronary Symptoms No Longer 'Atypical'

Chest pain remains the most common presentation by both men and women

shoulder pain

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Women with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) do have some different symptoms than men at presentation, but there is also considerable overlap, according to a review published online May 4 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Roos E.M. van Oosterhout, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature search to assess the extent of sex differences in symptom presentation in patients with confirmed ACS.

Based on 27 identified studies, the researchers found that compared with men, women with ACS had higher odds of presenting with pain between the shoulder blades (odds ratio [OR], 2.15), nausea or vomiting (OR, 1.64), and shortness of breath (OR, 1.34). Presentation with chest pain (OR, 0.70) and diaphoresis (OR, 0.84) was less likely for women. Chest pain was the most common presentation in both sexes (pooled prevalence rates: men, 79 percent; women, 74 percent). While the presence of sex differences has been established since the early 2000s, newer studies did not materially change cumulative findings.

"Since these differences have been shown for years, symptoms should no longer be labeled as 'atypical' or 'typical,'" the authors write.

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