The characteristics of chest pain as a possible cause of underdiagnosis of ischemic heart disease in women: a narrative review

Erica Delsignore, Isabella Zanotti, Maria Cristina Bertoncelli, Cecilia Politi, Roberta Re
J Sex Gender Specif Med 2024, 10(2): online ahead of print

Abstract. It is known that cardiovascular diseases, while nearly equally represented in both genders, are often underdiagnosed in women. This underdiagnosis may be a consequence of the prejudice that women would be less affected by cardiovascular diseases, resulting in a more frequent a priori exclusion of diagnosis or to a different presentation of symptoms compared to men, in which ‘typical cardiac pain’ was first described in the early 1960s. In this paper, the authors analyze whether biological and cultural differences are reported in literature and if they could determine different clinical presentations of acute ischemic heart disease between genders, and whether these variances may influence diagnosis and outcomes.
Keywords. Chest pain, risk factors, ischemic heart disease, gender differences.