How men and women with heart disease seek care: the delay experience

Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. Spring 1999;14(2):53-60, 74.


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among American men and women. Much research has focused on CHD in men while less is known about the disease in women. Traditionally, research protocols have excluded women or have not addressed gender differences in the experience of the disease. A major factor contributing to morbidity and mortality is delay in seeking medical care when experiencing symptoms of CHD. The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of men and women with symptoms of CHD in seeking care. A sample of 121 men and women admitted to one of two cardiac units in an urban hospital were interviewed using a questionnaire concerning demographics and factors related to delay. The study demonstrated that women were more likely than men to contact a family member when experiencing symptoms. Smokers and previous smokers with symptoms were less likely to delay seeking care. The findings suggest important differences in the experience of CHD among men and women. Implications for practice and directions for further research are discussed. The information gained can be used to develop interventions that reduce delay and improve health care for men and women with CHD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / nursing*
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / nursing*
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors