Do you know them when you see them? Women's prodromal and acute symptoms of myocardial infarction

J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2001 Apr;15(3):26-38. doi: 10.1097/00005082-200104000-00003.


This study described women's prodromal and acute symptoms associated with myocardial infarction (MI) based on interviews with 76 women who had experienced an MI in the previous year. Sixty-eight women experienced prodromal symptoms including unusual fatigue (70%), shortness of breath (53%), and pain in the shoulder blade/upper back (47%). All women experienced acute symptoms including chest pain/discomfort (90%), unusual fatigue (59%), shortness of breath (59%), and shoulder blade/upper back discomfort (42%). Although women in this study reported numerous prodromal symptoms, none had received a new diagnosis of coronary heart disease (CHD) prior to MI. Practitioners must develop an awareness of and a more comprehensive approach to treating women at risk for CHD. Further research to elucidate prodromal and acute symptom clusters is needed to assist practitioners in early diagnosis of CHD in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Disease / psychology
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Flushing / etiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Women's Health