Study Reveals Heart Attacks in Women Strike without Pain

By: Alere Staff

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, young women are more likely to have heart attacks without chest pain. And women having heart attacks like these are more likely to die than men.1

The study examined a database of 1.1 million patients hospitalized with myocardial infarctions (MI) commonly known as heart attacks and found that women were more likely than men in their same age group to not feel any chest pain and were more likely to die as a result of the heart attack.1

Women are generally older than men at hospitalization for heart attacks and also complain less frequently with chest pain/discomfort. The proportion of patients who did not have chest pain was significantly higher for women (42%) than men (30.7%).1 Also, about 15% of women who experienced a heart attack died in the hospital, compared to 10% of men.

Although previous research has pointed to gender differences in heart attack symptoms, this study is believed to be the biggest. However, few studies have taken age into account when examining sex differences in clinical presentation and mortality.

This study also found that as women get older, the symptoms and likelihood they’ll die from a heart attack starts to look similar to that of men. The reasons for why this occurs are largely unknown.

These findings should serve as a reminder to be on the lookout for other heart attack symptoms besides the classic signs of pain and discomfort in the chest. Talk to your doctor about the signs or symptoms of a heart attack and how to lead a healthier lifestyle. For healthy lifestyle tips while taking warfarin, check out the Warfarin & You section of

  1. Canto, John G., Rogers, William J., et al. Association of Age and Sex with Myocardial Infarction Symptom Presentation and In-Hospital Mortality. JAMA. 2012; 307(8):813-822. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.199.


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