by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ August 11, 2019
.“A Typical Heart“ is a short but powerful documentary film about women’s #1 killer. Heart disease, in fact, will kill more women this year than all forms of cancer combined. Yet until very recently, cardiac research on diagnostic tools, drugs and procedures has been done only on (white, middle-aged) men.(1) Even the lab mice used in early cardiac research were exclusively male animals.(2 ) No wonder many women still consider heart disease to be a “man’s problem”.
“If women make up over half our population, why are our heart attack symptoms still called ATYPICAL?”
“Women’s hearts are victims of a broken system that is ill-equipped to diagnose, treat and support them.”
“This means that despite study after study, report after report, expert after expert confirming this pervasive cardiology gender gap, the reality remains that when women seek help, they don’t always get it.
- Laurie Blakeley (Port Alberni, BC) who survived a heart attack caused by a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) – a condition largely experienced by young, healthy women with few cardiac risk factors.
- Zamira Vicenzino (Victoria, BC) who passed a full physical “with flying colours” just one week before suffering a heart attack caused by five blocked coronary arteries
- Carolyn Thomas (Victoria, BC) who was misdiagnosed with acid reflux in mid-heart attack and sent home from the ER despite her “textbook” heart attack symptoms of chest pain, nausea, and pain in her left arm.
The moderator for the panel discussion is Cardiac Social Worker Barb Field. Admission to this important event is FREE, but space is limited, so please reserve your seat early.
Sign up with the women you care about! And please share this link with your friends, family or colleagues who are in or near Victoria/Vancouver Canada.
The eight of us who were interviewed for this film because we are heart patients represent a cross-section of Canadian women diagnosed with a range of cardiac conditions. The compelling patient narratives are what illustrate the main messages, and the seven eminent cardiologists, researchers and activists interviewed alongside us hammer home a grim reality in a way that few experts have been able to do until now.
- “Amazing!” – Dr. Sharon Mulvagh, MD
- “Full of heart and love!” – Dr. Doreen Rabi, MD
- “Brilliant!” – Vesta Giles, filmmaker
- “Fantastic!” – Dr. Najah Andreak, Cardiovascular Surgery Researcher
- “Powerful!” – Jackie Ratz, heart failure patient
- “Important!” – Allan Batt, Paramedic
- “Essential for all health care professionals and the public!” – Morven Dunn, British Heart Foundation
- “Informative and heart-wrenching!” – Nicole Nickerson, Women’s Heart Health Advocate
- “A must-watch for every woman!” – Jill Murphy, Doctor of Physical Therapy
1. Editorial, “Cardiology’s Problem Women”. The Lancet, Volume 393, issue 10175, P959, March 09, 2019.
The Canadian documentary film “A Typical Heart” was created with financial support from Telus and StoryHive. Producers: paramedic Cristina D’Alessandro at York Region Paramedic Services, and Chris Beauchamp and Laura Beauchamp of Distillery Films.
Q: Will more public awareness be able to move the dial in this “deadly disparity” as described in “A Typical Heart”?
NOTE FROM CAROLYN: I wrote much more about the key points covered in this documentary in my book, A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease . You can ask for it at your local library or favourite bookshop, or order it online (paperback, hardcover or e-book) at Amazon, or order it directly from my publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press (use their code HTWN to save 20% off the list price).
* Heart Sisters posts written about cardiac research on women’s heart disease presented during the 2011 or 2014 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver, BC Canada. In the 2011 conference, out of over 700 scientific papers presented, only four (FOUR!) focused specifically on women’s heart disease. Three years later, that number had jumped to 12.