Signs and symptoms of suspected myocardial ischemia in women: Results from the what is the optimal method for ischemia evaluation in women? Trial

Publication Date


Journal Title

J Womens Health


Background: Much of our understanding of gender differences in chest pain was derived from noncontemporary reports. The aim of the current report was to compare the frequency of chest pain by measures of ischemia in 824 women with suspected myocardial ischemia prospectively enrolled in a clinical trial of exercise testing with electrocardiography (ETT-ECG) alone compared to myocardial perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) (ETT-MPS). Methods: Women seeking evaluation of chest pain or anginal equivalent symptoms were randomized to ETT-ECG or ETT-MPS with Tc-99m tetrofosmin. The Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) and Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ) chest pain and Duke Activity Status Index (DASI) questionnaires were employed in enrolled women. Higher SAQ scores denote improved symptoms or functioning. Results: Eight hundred twenty-four women, average age 63 years, at intermediate-high coronary artery disease (CAD) likelihood were enrolled from 43 North American centers. Traditional cardiac risk factors were prevalent, with nearly half of women having a family history of premature coronary disease, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Chest pain symptoms occurring at least one to three times per week were reported in 60% of women. An examination of the SAQ domains revealed that although women reported minimal physical limitations (median, interquartile range [IQR] 88, 75-100), there was a greater frequency of stable chest pain symptoms (median, IQR=40, 30-50). The majority of women (79%) reported moderate to heavy physical activity levels at home, with the average ETT and DASI estimated metabolic equivalents (METs) of 8.6±2.6 and 11.5±3.8. Women with more frequent daily episodes of chest pain were more likely to have a lower Duke Treadmill Score (DTS), 1 or mm of ST segment depression, and an abnormal MPS. Conclusions: The current report details a contemporary evaluation of female-specific symptomatology and measures of myocardial ischemia. Women reporting frequent angina were more likely to exhibit ischemia and this may characterize a female-specific typical angina pattern. © 2011 Copyright, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Volume Number


Issue Number



1261 - 1268

Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department


Additional Departments

Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention





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