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Investigating silent heart attacks

| May 11, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

Patients who present to hospitals and medical centers in Queens complaining of symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, arm pain or a shortness of breath should immediately trigger an assessment for a possible heart attack. In many cases, heart attacks may be misdiagnosed because the aforementioned symptoms are also linked to other ailments like indigestion, muscle aches or anxiety. If doctors struggle to correctly link the symptoms of a heart attack to an actual cardiac event, one can only imagine how much more difficult it may be to diagnose a heart attack that is asymptomatic.

Asymptomatic heart attacks (or “silent heart attacks,” as they are more commonly known) are actually much more common than one may think. According to information shared by the American Heart Association, as many 45 percent of all heart attacks may be asymptomatic. Yet simply because one may not be feeling their effects does not mean that silent heart attacks are any less deadly. In fact, data shared by the AHA study shows that people who suffer silent heart attacks are three times more likely to die from heart disease.

While research has yielded little information on whether or not a particular patient demographic may be predisposed to having silent heart attacks, the online medical publication VeryWell.com lists the following as being why people may experience such events:

  • Chronic conditions like diabetes may blunt the nerves that carry pain impulses
  • Certain cases of cardiac ischemia may produce atypical symptoms
  • Some people may have a higher pain threshold or may dismiss a potential heart attack as being something else.

Silent heart attacks are diagnosed by observing the damage done through a subsequent electrocardiogram. Those found to have suffered such an event should immediately begin the same preventative treatment recommended for those who have survived traditional heart attacks.

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