Women at risk of deadly condition as thousands of cases are missed | The Sun
THOUSANDS of women are getting worse NHS care than men after suffering a heart attack, research reveals.
Experts blame sexism in medicine for nearly 12,000 cases being wrongly classified as low risk.
It means these women have missed out on potentially life-saving treatment – such as surgery or clot-busting drugs.
Previous research has found medics are 50 per cent more likely to miss a heart attack in women than they are in men.
Experts claim the greater risk of misdiagnosis is partly due to doctors expecting victims to be fat, middle-aged blokes.
The Imperial College London study, published in The Lancet, looked at data from 420,000 heart patients in the UK and Switzerland between 2005 and 2017.
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It found that five per cent of British women having a heart attack were wrongly classified as not at high risk of death.
This equates to 11,651 being misdiagnosed in the past two decades and missing out on emergency treatment.
The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual congress in Barcelona.
Commenting on the result, Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We live in a world where inequalities in heart attack care are costing women’s lives every day.
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“Again and again, data from large numbers of people in different countries show that the odds of surviving a heart attack are stacked differently if you are a woman.
“To end this injustice requires change.
"We must ensure that heart tests and treatments are as equally well proven in women as they are in men and that we tackle the persistent biases that pervade society and healthcare – because heart attacks happen to women too.”
Around 100,000 people a year are admitted to hospital after a heart attack in the UK.
Experts warn current tests were developed using data on men only, meaning they are less accurate for women.
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They now want hospitals to replace them with more sensitive checks using artificial intelligence, to help eliminate gender bias.
Researcher Dr Florian Wenzl, from Zurich University, said: “The study shows that established risk models which guide current patient management are less accurate in females and favour the under-treatment of female patients.”
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