Philadelphia Eagles News

Women And Heart Attacks

by Dr. Duffy, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals

Women often experience heart attack symptoms that are vastly different than men and are sometimes not accompanied by chest pain. Too often a lack of understanding about how heart disease differs in women leads to delayed care or misdiagnoses.

At Jefferson, our women's heart health experts are experienced in detecting heart disease and heart attacks in women. Our cardiologists, nurses and counselors also provide risk-factor counseling geared specifically toward women.

We follow guidelines for women recommended by the American College of Cardiology and are helping to develop protocols that identify women who may need more aggressive treatment. Our physicians and scientists are also spearheading research into new women-specific screening methods and heart disease prevention strategies.

With an emphasis on prevention, we can devise personalized programs that help women reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, which may include lifestyle changes, weight management, exercise and medication to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

If you should have a heart attack or are at risk for having one, you can expect personalized, expert care from a world-class medical team at Jefferson. We offer more minimally invasive alternatives to heart surgery than any other hospital in the Delaware Valley.

Jefferson cardiologists are also able to accurately detect and diagnose heart attacks using the most advanced imaging techniques, including a 256-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner. This technology allows us to visualize arteries and the heart with pinpoint clarity in order to make accurate diagnoses of coronary heart disease.

Some advanced capabilities that set Jefferson apart in the care of heart attacks include:

  • Our physicians have been using coronary stents for 25 years, which has helped prevent thousands of heart attacks.
  • Jefferson has helped pioneer the use of next-generation drug-eluting stents in angioplasty, and we were the first hospital in Philadelphia to treat patients with them.
  • Jefferson is one of the only medical centers in the U.S. to offer off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting, which is performed on the still-beating heart without the use of a heart-lung machine. This has the potential to reduce complications, the risk of stroke and temporary cognitive decline after surgery.

Our physicians were also the first in the Delaware Valley to use low-dose radiation therapy (brachytherapy) to prevent restenosis of coronary arteries in patients who have previously undergone balloon angioplasty.

For more tips and information on being heart healthy, visit

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