Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Despite recent advances in treatment options for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), there has not been similar progress in decreasing the time between symptom onset and the decision to seek medical help (labeled "decision delay") and therefore availability of such treatments. Women delay longer than men before seeking help for symptoms of AMI, yet few studies have analyzed decision delay by gender. Factors studied to date do not adequately explain the differences in decision delay among women or between women and men with AMI. Additional research is needed to guide interventions to limit decision delay in women at risk for AMI. Until then, clinicians should use existing general guidelines to assist women at risk of AMI to avoid decision delay.

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