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Bangladeshi patients present with non-classic features of acute myocardial infarction and are treated less aggressively in east London, UK


Objective: To analyse differences in the presentation and management of Bangladeshi and white patients with Q wave acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Design: Prospective observational study.

Setting: East London teaching hospital.

Participants: 263 white and 108 Bangladeshi patients admitted with Q wave AMI.

Main outcome measure: Character of presenting symptoms, their interpretation by the patient, and the provision of emergency treatment.

Results: There were no significant differences between Bangladeshi and white patients in the time from pain onset to hospital arrival (arrival time 64.5 (117.5) minutes v 63.0 (140.3) minutes, p = 0.63), but once in hospital it took almost twice as long for Bangladeshi as for white patients to receive thrombolysis (median (interquartile range) door to needle time 42.5 (78.0) minutes v 26.0 (47.7) minutes, p = 0.012). Bangladeshis were significantly less likely than whites to complain of central chest pain (odds ratio (OR) 0.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.03 to 0.38; p = 0.0006) or to offer classic descriptions of the character of the pain (OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.74; p = 0.0118). These differences persisted after adjustment for age, sex, and risk factor profile differences including diabetes. Proportions of Bangladeshi and whites interpreting their symptoms as “heart attack” were similar (45.2% v 46.9%; p = 0.99).

Conclusions: Bangladeshi patients with AMI often present with atypical symptoms, which may lead to slower triage in the casualty department and delay in essential treatment. This needs recognition by emergency staff if mortality rates in this high risk group are to be reduced.

  • acute myocardial infarction
  • patient management
  • racial differences

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