It has been found that coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the leading causes of death in both the United States and throughout the rest of world. While many believe that this is a disease that typically affects men, it is estimated that one in three women are affected by CAD.
The disease occurs when fatty substances begin to accumulate within the coronary artery walls. When this process is first beginning, no symptoms are produced and the individual will be completely unaware. But as the disease becomes progressively worse over time, it produces symptoms such as chest pain, pain in other areas of the body, heart attack and possibly death.
When someone is experiencing chest pains, it is not unusual to visit a doctor to determine the potential cause. When a patient presents with chest pain, a physician will usually perform an angiogram, a test that allows the physician to view the coronary arteries.
Since CAD is a fairly common condition and is experienced by numerous individuals worldwide, the standard tests that are used to find evidence of this disease should be used, in addition to other measures that can be used to eliminate the possibility of CAD. These types of preventative options must be taken to prevent the patient from suffering a potentially deadly heart attack.
Diagnosing CAD in Men and Women
Women are more likely to receive a delayed diagnosis of CAD because they do not experience the typical chest pains and other common symptoms that occur before a heart attack. All doctors should be aware that the signs of a heart attack in women are often completely different in comparison to men. Extreme fatigue and pain that occurs elsewhere in the body, or cardiac equivalents, are symptoms of a heart attack in women. Since the symptoms are different in women, it is recommended that they demand further testing, which can provide reassurance that they do not have CAD and lessen the risk of suffering a heart attack.
Malpractice and Failure to Diagnose
Heart disease, a life-threatening heart attack and perhaps death are the potential consequences of a CAD misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis. Although it depends on each unique case, the physician or hospital may be to blame when these types of injuries occur.
It is possible that the doctor did everything that he or she could in diagnosing the patient, but the disease progressed to an advanced stage. However, it is also likely that a specific symptom was ignored, a test was not conducted or a patient’s file was misread by hospital staff. Whatever the end result, the doctor or hospital can be held liable for damages.