Heart Stress Tests Not Always Accurate in Women

Uploaded by osumedicalcenter on 30.12.2010

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By simply hooking up a few sensors to a patient on a treadmill, stress tests can instantly
tell doctors a lot about a patient\'92s heart. For decades they have been the test of choice,
and given how easy and inexpensive they can be, it\'92s not surprising.\
>>MARTHA GULATI, MD: But what is surprising, is the fact that all the research that describes
stress testing initially, and that has gone on for almost more than 40 years - was only
done on men.\ >>NARRATOR: That means all the guidelines
that determine who is fit - and how fit they should be - aren\'92t always accurate in women.
And that\'92s something doctor Martha Gulati of Ohio State University Medical Center is
hoping to change. Since 1992, Gulati and a team of researchers have been following 6,000
women - putting them through countless exams and stress tests. And she\'92s finding the
formula for heart health isn\'92t always the same for everyone. \
>>MARTHA GULATI: I looked at what their age-predicted fitness level should be and we found a completely
different equation than what has been established in men.\
>>NARRATOR: For example, there are readings known as S-T Segments that measure blood flow
to the heart. Those readings are often different in women - and things like blood pressure
and fitness level - seem to play a different role than they do in men. That\'92s information
women like Harriett O\'92Toole should know. This former marathon runner had a heart attack
she never saw coming - although there were clues.\
>>HARRIETT O'TOOLE: Looking back and researching family members, the male side of the family
had had many heart attacks, most of them fatal.\ >>NARRATOR: Which is why Gulati says women
who get stress tests should ask about female-specific readings. Even if they look good today, these
tests can hold clues to future problems, but only if they\'92re read properly. At Ohio
State University Medical Center, this is Clark Powell reporting. }