Doctors could spot twice as many heart attacks in women by using a newer, more sensitive blood test, a study claims.
The test looks for minute traces of a protein that signals that the heart muscle may have been damaged.
Standard tests still used by much of the NHS only detect higher levels of this protein, called troponin.
Research from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh shows the standard test misses many cases of heart attack in women with symptoms like chest pain.
A heart attack is a medical emergency and early diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between life and death.
Doctors rely on blood tests to help them judge if a patient with chest pain might be having an attack, but a normal result can mean the diagnosis is overlooked.
“Our findings suggest one reason for this difference in diagnosis rates of men and women is that we, as doctors, may have been using a threshold for troponin testing that is too high in women” – Researcher Dr Anoop Shah
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