Gender differences in symptoms associated with acute myocardial infarction: a review of the research

Heart Lung. Jul-Aug 2005;34(4):240-7. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2004.12.004.


Recognizing similarities and differences in symptom experiences of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between men and women has implications for both health care providers and the general public. Rapid accurate diagnosis is necessary to implement timely lifesaving treatment. The purpose of this article is to critically review and evaluate studies that have compared symptoms of AMI between men and women. Research to date has demonstrated that during AMI, women are more likely than men to report shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, back pain, jaw pain, neck pain, cough, and fatigue, but less likely than men to report chest pain and sweating. However, the findings were inconsistent across studies. These inconsistent findings could be attributable to methodological issues such as collecting data from medical records, small sample sizes, and controversial eligibility criteria for studies. More studies are needed to confirm gender differences in symptom experiences of AMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors*