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Re: Perry et al: Congratulations on your study. I have 20 years experience interviewing and assessing cardiac patients post AMI / PTCA and post CAGS and for a few years now have included a brief question at the cardiac rehabilitation entry assessment on the 'description' of the symptoms that
caused the person to seek medical attention in the first instance.
While many experience 'typical text book...
While many experience 'typical text book chest pain ', I have found a
larger number do not. These people experience various intensity of
discomfort and many have described their symptoms as in one arm or both
with no chest symptoms, or an aching in the jaw or throat or shoulders and
more than half the clients with chest symptoms describe a 'tightness'
rather than a pain.
Delay in seeking medical attention is reported to me often as 'not
relating their symptoms to being cardiac in origin' rather than any
denial. There is often a comment such as: " I didn’t really think it was my heart because I guess I expected the symptoms would be worse if it was my heart." It raises the question weather health professionals in the ambulance service and ED, GP practice and cardiac wards should change their
questioning of people about their acute symptoms from "how much chest pain
do you have?" to "do you have any discomfort or pain between the ear lobe
or belly button, front or back?”.
As part of our cardiac rehab education sessions on symptom recognition and
when to seek medical attention in both the cardiac and community groups,
we now use the patient experience as examples . This has improved
confidence and communication.