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Being Married Linked to Earlier Care After Chest Pain

Married men, but not women, are significantly more likely to seek care after MI with chest pain

FRIDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Though married status is associated with lower odds of delayed medical care after chest pain, married men are significantly more likely to present earlier for care after myocardial infarction (MI) with chest pain, but married women show no such benefit, according to a study published online July 18 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Clare L. Atzema, M.D., from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, and colleagues investigated whether marital status predicted the duration of chest pain endured before seeking care, and whether the patient's gender modified this effect. Data were collected from 4,403 patients (1,486 women; mean age, 67.3 years) who experienced chest pain and were admitted to acute care hospitals with acute MI, between April 2004 and March 2005. Multivariable regression analyses were used to assess marital status in relation to overall and gender stratified delayed presentation to hospital (more than six hours from onset of pain).

The investigators found that 46.3 and 73.6 percent of total patients presented to hospital within two and six hours of MI, respectively. Within six hours of chest pain, 75.3 percent of married, 70.8 percent of widowed, 68.5 percent of divorced, and 67.9 percent of single patients presented to hospital. Being married correlated with significantly lower odds of delay to the hospital compared to being single (odds ratio, [OR], 0.46). Being married was significantly associated with lower odds of delayed presentation in men (OR, 0.35), but the effect of marital status was not significant for women.

"Among men experiencing acute MI with chest pain, being married was associated with significantly earlier presentation for care, a benefit that was not observed for married women," the authors write.

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