Women's narratives: evolving symptoms of myocardial infarction

J Women Aging. 1998;10(2):67-83. doi: 10.1300/J074v10n02_06.


Diagnosing acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in women is difficult since chest pain may not be a hallmark symptom. Research is needed to identify symptoms experienced by women with AMI to facilitate timely diagnosis. The purpose of this study was to identify new symptoms and their evolution experienced by women prior to diagnosis of AMI. Non-probability sampling was used to select 20 diverse women. Intensive home interviews were conducted and transcribed. Content analysis and constant comparison were used to develop nine data clusters: Location of Pain; Intensity of Pain/Sensations; Cardiovascular/Temperature Changes; Respiratory Sensations; Gastrointestinal Symptoms; Emotions; Hand and Arm Sensations; Neurological/Vision Changes; and Fatigue. Some women progressed to AMI in minutes while others had symptoms for weeks. Findings should increase awareness of women's symptoms of AMI. Further research is needed with a larger sample.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction*
  • Verbal Behavior*
  • Women / psychology*