A comparative study of differences in the referral behaviour patterns of men and women who have experienced cardiac-related chest pain

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 1998 Aug;14(4):192-202. doi: 10.1016/s0964-3397(98)80525-9.


Survival and long-term prognosis after a myocardial infarction are directly related to the individuals's decision to seek medical help. Early medical intervention is imperative if thrombolytic therapy is to be effective. Emerging research has indicated that women frequently have longer pre-hospital delays than men. Incorporating a comparative descriptive design, this research compared the pre-hospital admission behaviour patterns of women and men, following the onset of acute chest pain. A convenience sample of 12 women and 12 men were selected following admission to a local coronary care unit. Structured interviews and the examination of medical notes/relevant documentation provided the data. Findings were examined and compared through the use of content analysis and descriptive statistics. Severity of symptoms proved to be the strongest influence in shortening pre-hospital delay. Despite this, overall, men were admitted to hospital more quickly than women. Men were more ready than women to believe that they might be having a heart attack and this belief led them to seek treatment promptly. In order to improve female mortality and morbidity following a myocardial infarction, it is recommended that there is an urgent need to target women, through health promotion and media interventions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angina Pectoris / psychology*
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Women / psychology*