Not your father’s heart attack

You would think that a woman’s heart is just a smaller version of a man’s. And in some ways it is. It has four chambers and is nourished by a network of arteries. But a closer look can show some differences. “The arteries are smaller and tortuous (curly),” explained Dr. Malissa Wood, co-director of the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

That can cause problems in diagnosing a heart attack. The tools used were designed for larger arteries, and may not pick up subtle changes in a woman’s heart. That is often why women get an OK sign but a heart attack is still lurking.

MINOCA

Even more confusing is that plaque is not always the cause of a woman’s attack. Women are more susceptible to an unusual form of heart attack referred to as MINOCA (myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries). These women tend to be younger


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