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Unusual fatigue may be warning symptom of heart attack in women

DALLAS, Nov. 4 In a study of women who had heart attacks, symptoms such as unexplained fatigue or trouble sleeping were experienced as much as a month before the heart attack, indicating the possibility that acting on these advance symptoms could prevent an impending heart attack. The study, one of the first comprehensive examinations of issues that might allow prevention of imminent heart attack in women, is reported in today's rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," said Jean C. McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., lead author and a professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Researchers recruited 515 women diagnosed with a heart attack and discharged from five different medical sites in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio within the previous four to six months. The women were age 66 on average, and 93 percent were Caucasian, 6.2 percent black and 0.4 percent Native American. Data collection occurred over three years.

To assess symptoms that might suggest an imminent heart attack, the researchers used the McSweeney Acute and Prodromal Myocardial Infarction Symptom Survey (MAPMISS), a telephone research tool developed by McSweeney and her colleagues. The survey lists 33 early, or prodromal, signs and 37 acute symptoms that women identified in previous studies. The researchers defined prodromal signs as being new or changing in intensity or frequency before the heart attack, being intermittent before the heart attack, and disappearing or returning to previous levels after the heart attack. Acute symptoms were defined as those appearing with the heart attack and not resolving until women received treatment.

The survey also included questions about other health p
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
3-Nov-2003


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