OBJECTIVE: Women are felt to have poor outcomes in coronary artery disease, largely on the basis of secondary observations in acute coronary syndrome trials. We sought to examine the neglected topic of sex differences in workup and outcomes in the general population presenting with chest pain. METHODS: We examined 439 consecutive patients admitted via the emergency department with ongoing chest pain. Cardiac testing was defined as any cardiac catheterization or stress test. Positive testing was defined as a 70% or greater stenosis in an epicardial coronary artery on catheterization, or a positive stress test result. Follow-up was obtained via telephone contact at 4 months following discharge. RESULTS: Further cardiac testing was deemed necessary in 68% (164/241) of women and 77% (153/198) of men (P=0.038). Among women undergoing further testing, only 21% (35/164) had positive tests, whereas 41% (62/153) of men had positive tests (P=0.002). At 4 months, women were less likely to have suffered the combined endpoint of subsequent myocardial infarction, revascularization, or death, than men (15 vs. 23%, P=0.027). Events were more likely to occur in patients who had further testing, and especially in those who had positive testing. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that women admitted with chest pain are less likely to have active coronary artery disease, and much less likely to have poor outcomes at 4 months than men. This apparent 'gender protection' effect warrants further study.
- Cardiac testing
- Chest pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine