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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Harvard: Heart Attack Symptoms Similar in Both Women and Men

Although prevailing wisdom holds that women experience heart attack symptoms differently from men, new research suggests otherwise.

The traditional thinking has been that men’s heart attack symptoms typically involve crushing chest pain, while women have other symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, sweating, and pain in the arm, shoulder, or back. But a study using artificial intelligence, from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher, Dr. Catherine Kreatsoulas, found that the way women and men describe heart attack-related chest pain is more similar than different, according to a September 13, 2019 WBUR article.

Dr. Kreatsoulas and colleagues used machine learning to analyze audio interviews of more than 600 patients who talked about their heart attack symptoms. In both women and men, the top complaint was chest pain, and the second leading symptom was trouble with breathing and shortness of breath.

Other symptoms, such as dizziness and nausea, were much less common, but both women and men had them. “The leading complaint is still chest pain,” Dr. Kreatsoulas said.

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