Abstract 12639: Acute Myocardial Infarction Symptom Experience of Mexican American Women: This is Not What I Know a Heart Attack to be
Introduction: Mexican American (MA) women are a burgeoning population and are at increased risk for heart disease. However, there are no studies describing acute myocardial infarction (AMI) symptoms unique to this Hispanic subgroup.
Hypothesis: Guided by vulnerability theory, the aims were to describe MA women’s perceptions of the AMI symptom experience and to measure their self-reported acute and prodromal MI symptoms.
Methods: A convenience sample of 8 MA women mean age 63 years (range 41-78 years) with recent AMI from the US-Mexico border region participated in a semi-structured interview and completed the McSweeney Acute and Prodromal Myocardial Infarction Symptom Survey (MAPMISS). Qualitative description was used to analyze codes from interview data and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the MAPMISS responses.
Results: MA women’s symptom experience was incongruent with what they knew to be symptoms of a heart attack. They attributed AMI symptoms to non-cardiac causes and did not think they were having an MI. Women self-managed symptoms and delayed seeking health care until symptoms became severe. “Asphyxiatia” (asphyxiating) and “menos fuerza” (less strength) were the most commonly described symptoms in the interviews. On the MAPMISS, MA women reported a mean of 11.25 (range 5-22) acute and 8.75 (range 0-17) prodromal symptoms. Sleep disturbance was the most frequently reported prodromal symptom and weakness and nausea were the most frequently reported acute symptoms, as measured by MAPMISS. Prodromal leg pain was reported with more frequency than prodromal general chest pain.
Conclusions: Delays in seeking health services by MA women in the U.S.-Mexico border region reflect (1) the difference in their actual MI symptoms compared to preconceived ideas of a heart attack, (2) different terms used to describe their MI symptoms, and (3) not initiating healthcare services themselves. These findings can be used to inform MA women and healthcare providers in the U.S.-Mexico border region about the unique experiences of MA women. The findings that participants were not able to recognize or attribute their AMI symptoms suggest that heart health education should be tailored to MA women and targeted to MA families and communities.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.