Challenging the rules: women's prodromal and acute symptoms of myocardial infarction.


In this qualitative study the researcher identified symptoms women experienced prior to and during an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The purposive nonprobability sample for this descriptive naturalistic study consisted of 40 women. Using content analysis and constant comparison, the researcher identified specific symptoms and grouped them according to time of occurrence, prodromal and acute. Thirty-seven women experienced prodromal symptoms, beginning from a few weeks to 2 years prior to their AMI and ranging from 0 to 11 symptoms per woman. The most frequent prodromal symptoms were unusual fatigue (n = 27), discomfort in the shoulder blade area (n = 21), and chest sensations (n = 20), whereas the most frequent acute symptoms were chest sensations (n = 26), shortness of breath (n = 22), feeling hot and flushed (n = 21), and unusual fatigue (n = 18). Only 11 women experienced severe pain during their AMI. Conclusions of this study are threefold: (a) women identified classic and unique symptoms of AMI, which challenge the content of current educational literature; (b) women experienced a gradual progression of number and severity of AMI symptoms; and (c) women need sufficient time to recognize their prodromal symptoms of their AMI.


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@article{McSweeney2000ChallengingTR, title={Challenging the rules: women's prodromal and acute symptoms of myocardial infarction.}, author={Jean C. McSweeney and Patricia Barton Crane}, journal={Research in nursing & health}, year={2000}, volume={23 2}, pages={135-46} }