Fewer lights/sirens when a woman heart patient is in the ambulance

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

emsI sometimes think that, during the years I’ve been writing about women’s heart disease research, diagnostics and treatment, I’ve heard it all when it comes to women being under-diagnosed and under-treated (yes, sometimes under-treated even when appropriately diagnosed!)  I thought I was unshockable by now. But a study published in the journal, Women’s Health Issues (WHI) was indeed a shocker.(1)    .
Continue reading “Fewer lights/sirens when a woman heart patient is in the ambulance”

When the woman who won’t call 911 is your mother

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Cardiologists know that, when it comes to seeking emergency medical help while experiencing alarming cardiac symptoms, women can be surprisingly reluctant to call 911. As I’ve written about here, here and here, this is a puzzling phenomenon we call treatment-seeking delay behaviour. It turns out that some cardiologists have to worry not only about patients like this, but about their own mothers. Continue reading “When the woman who won’t call 911 is your mother”

The myth of the “Hollywood Heart Attack” for women

Of course you know what a heart attack looks like:
  • The victim stops what they’re doing.
  • Their eyes open wide.
  • They clutch their chest, make some funny noises, and then they collapse to the floor. Right?

Wrong. (Don’t believe everything you see on TV!)  That scenario describes sudden cardiac arrest, not heart attack. The two are not the same thing at all. The heart attack awareness campaign called “Make The Call – Don’t Miss a Beat” tells us how symptoms of the classic  “Hollywood Heart Attack” can differ from the actual reality for most women.   Continue reading “The myth of the “Hollywood Heart Attack” for women”

Why wouldn’t you call 911 for heart attack symptoms?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

The other evening, I was out for our regular pre-sushi walk with my friend, Patty.  She told me a dramatic story of a co-worker whose husband had just suffered a heart attack. Turns out that this co-worker had attended one of my workplace presentations about heart health at their office just a couple months ago, yet when her husband phoned her at work to tell her of his distressing cardiac symptoms, she did not call 911 for him (as I continually harp on to my audiences!)  Instead, she left work and drove all the way home to pick him up, loaded him into her car, and then drove him all the way back into town to the hospital.

When Patty heard this story from her co-worker later, she wondered:

“Why didn’t you call 911 for your husband like Carolyn told us to do?”

But it seems that this co-worker, like many of us, had acted purely on impulse: just get home and get him to the E.R.  Unfortunately, her decision to drive hubby to the E.R. instead of calling 911 for help is not at all uncommon. 

Continue reading “Why wouldn’t you call 911 for heart attack symptoms?”