Objectives: To identify gender differences in delay time and the reasons why African Americans delay in seeking medical care for symptoms of acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
Setting: Five hospitals in the San Francisco and East Bay areas.
Patients: Sixty-one African American men and women diagnosed with an AMI.
Main outcome measures: Prehospital delay time.
Results: Median delay time was longer for women compared to men (4.4 hours vs 3.5 hours), although the difference was not significant. Single women delayed longer than single men (P = .03), and women who were alone when symptoms began delayed longer than women with someone (P = .03). Women who received advice to seek help or call 911 upon symptom onset had shorter delays compared to women who were not advised to call 911 (P = .01). Men at home delayed longer than men who experienced their symptoms outside the home (P = .01). Men with emergency room insurance delayed longer than men without emergency room insurance (P = .03), and men who took an ambulance to the hospital had shorter delay times than men who took other means of transportation (P = .04).
Conclusion: Women compared to men often delay seeking treatment for an AMI, which further increases their risks. Our findings suggest specific characteristics that can serve as a profile to those African Americans most likely to delay seeking treatment for AMI.