Women with heart attacks tend to be older than men, which means they may be more likely to have serious complications or die from the heart attack. Our cardiologists understand this issue so they work to prevent complications, like internal bleeding, and monitor women closely with follow-up care. We also understand that young women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men of the same age. We take heart attacks in young women very seriously and use advanced techniques to rapidly diagnose and treat them.
At Stanford, our cardiologists mostly use radial artery catheterization (inserting a tube into the artery of the wrist) to diagnose and treat a heart attack, as opposed to catheterization in the groin artery. This method can help people recover more quickly and can minimize internal bleeding, a potentially dangerous heart attack complication that is more common in women than men.
Some centers are hesitant to use the radial approach with women because they have smaller, more delicate vessels in their wrists. However, at Stanford, we perform this less invasive procedure, which provides better results, on both women and men.
Women who are on hormone therapy and also have atherosclerosis may be more likely to have a heart attack. Some women may have a unique type of heart attack related to their hormone therapy. For women who are on hormone therapy and have atherosclerosis or have had a heart attack, our cardiologists thoroughly discuss the risks and benefits of continuing with hormone therapy. We work with specialists at our Gynecology Clinic help women find alternative treatments while living their best possible quality of life.