Gender Disparities in Puerto Ricans Hospitalized with an Initial Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Populationbased Perspective

Juan Carlos Zevallos, Jorge Yarzebski, Héctor Banchs, Juan A. González-Sánchez, Hernando Mattei, Robert J. Goldberg, María del Carmen González, Juan Quevedo, Gruschenka Mojica, Luis R. Pericchi, Mario R. García-Palmieri


Objective: The published literature suggests differences in presenting symptoms for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), management, and outcomes according to gender and age. However, limited information exists on this topic among Hispanics. Methods: In Puerto Rican patients hospitalized with an initial AMI, we examined differences in presenting symptoms, effective cardiac therapies, and in-hospital mortality as a function of gender and age groups. We reviewed the medical records of patients hospitalized with a validated AMI in 12 greater San Juan, Puerto Rico hospitals during 2007. Results: The average age of 1,415 patients hospitalized with a first AMI was 66 years and 45 % were women. Chest pain (81%) was the most prevalent acute presenting symptom with significant differences in its frequency between women (77%) and men (85%)(p<0.001). Right arm pain, shortness- of-breath/dyspnea, and sweating/ diaphoresis were most prevalent in patients 55-64 years old (45%), compared with patients 75 years and older (29%)(p < 0.005). Relative to men and patients < 55 years old, coronary angiography/thrombolytic therapy and percutaneous coronary interventions were used less frequently in women and older patients (> 75 years old). During hospitalization for AMI the in-hospital death rate was higher in women (8.6%) than men (6.0%), and increased with advancing age (p < 0.05). Conclusion: These findings suggest significant gender and age differences in presenting symptoms, management, and early mortality in Puerto Ricans hospitalized with an initial AMI. It remains of considerable importance that health care personnel become aware of these gender and age differences to improve the management and outcomes of these patients.


gender, health care disparity, myocardial infarction, secondary prevention, population surveillance.

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