A heart attack occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of the heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked. If blood flow isn't restored quickly, the section of the heart muscle begins to die. Acting fast at the first sign of heart attack symptoms can mean the difference between life and death, and limit damage to the heart.
Heart attacks affect both men and women. Women under the age of 55 were even found to be seven times more likely to have a heart attack misdiagnosis than men of the same age. According to the American Heart Association, 75 percent of men survive a first heart attack and 62 percent of women survive a first heart attack.
Treatment works best when given right after symptoms occur. Heart attack symptoms include:
- Chest pain or discomfort involving uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong. This discomfort or pain often lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.
- Shortness of breath, which may occur with or before chest discomfort.
- Nausea, vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.
- Sleep problems, fatigue, and lack of energy.
Regarding the misdiagnosis of a heart attack, the New England Journal of Medicine, in a study of over 10,000 patients, reported that one out of every 50 people who went to the hospital complaining of chest pains or other heart attack symptoms was misdiagnosed.
Misdiagnosis of a heart attack can be fatal or life-altering which makes it imperative to have a proper diagnosis. The sooner a diagnosis is established and treatment is administered, the better the outcome. A doctor may order an electrocardiogram (EKG) test to check for problems with the heart’s electrical activity, and blood tests. Negative laboratory tests, however, do not rule out a heart attack, nor does a normal EKG test.
Some misdiagnoses of a heart attack may include:
- Failure to diagnose symptoms
- Wrongful diagnosis (anxiety attacks, heartburn, acid indigestion)
- Partial misdiagnosis (diagnosed with the wrong type of heart condition)
- Delayed diagnosis
Treatments for a heart attack may vary depending on a number of factors and may include:
- Oral or intravenous administration of nitroglycerin or anti-arrhythmic drugs (medications used to prevent an abnormal heartbeat from developing)
- Anticoagulant drugs
- Angioplasty with placement of stints in the coronary arteries
- Coronary bypass.
Having heart disease symptoms can be stressful, especially if you have doctors who refuse to take your concerns seriously. The lawyers at Sweeney Law Firm will work in consultation with specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery, physicians, and other fields of medicine to analyze your case and provide you with answers about your case and whether or not malpractice occurred. If you have a case, Sweeney Law Firm may be able to recover damages to compensate you and your family for pain and suffering, medical care and rehabilitation expenses, lost income, loss of life, and other damages. There is never a fee unless a recovery is made for you.