Women's Heart

Women age 55 and younger are less likely to exhibit the classic symptoms and underlying mechanisms of a heart attack commonly observed in men. This can leave women undiagnosed and at great risk. But a new study, sponsor by Women’s Health Research at Yale; so shows how a sex-specific classification system can define and group types of heart attacks that are more common for women. In doing so, the researchers have produce a more accurate guide to treatment and prognosis.

The routine clinical practice

Our data support the importance of adopting a more nuance classification system in routine clinical practice,” said Dr. Erica Spatz; so an associate professor of cardiology at Yale and senior author on the paper. “Refining the way they diagnose heart attacks stems from new insights about disease mechanisms; so in women and promotes individualize diagnostic and treatment approaches to improve outcomes.

In the study, the researchers examine the medical records of women 55 years old and younger who were diagnose with a heart attack; know as a myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), using measurable cardiac symptoms and blood tests. The researchers gather additional data; which including the type of heart attack, as determine in part by cardiac catheterization; hence a procedure use to visualize the flow of blood to the heart for signs of obstruction.

Spatz’s team then apply the current classification system; so know as the Fourth Universal Definition of MI, and a recently develop alternative, called The VIRGO (Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients) Taxonomy. The researchers find that nearly one in six women who have a heart attack; hence not be classify using the traditional Universal Definition.

Mechanisms of a heart attack

This system does not distinguish some mechanisms of a heart attack that are more common in younger women; so such as arterial spasms or tears that inhibit blood flow to the heart without the presence of a plaque obstruction. In addition, many women have no evidence of blockages in the arteries; also are therefore not account for in the traditional classification system.
Without a new method for labeling these non-classic heart attacks; so women are uncertain about the diagnosis and left without clear guidance for treatment, said the researchers. In comparison, the VIRGO system successfully classify nearly all heart attack patients by distinguishing the unique; but common mechanisms of a heart attack in younger women.
“Forty-thousand women in the country are hospitalize each year due to heart attacks; also women today are more likely to die following one,” said Dr. Carolyn M. Mazure, director of Women’s Health Research at Yale. This new system of classifying heart attacks shows how we can better identify and treat women before it is too late.