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Misdiagnosis of Heart Attack Lawyers in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania Fighting For You


The symptoms of a heart attack are quite well known. That makes it particularly remarkable that doctors still misdiagnose heart attacks. However, heart attack symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other, less serious conditions. Moreover, there are well-known risk factors for heart attack, making it easier for medical personnel to misdiagnose if a patient has symptoms but does not fit the statistical picture.

How Doctors Misdiagnose Heart Attacks

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, two percent of heart attacks are misdiagnosed. Why does this happen?

  • The patient is young—under age 40
  • The patient is a woman—women are much more likely to have heart attacks misdiagnosed
  • The ECG was normal
  • The symptoms are atypical

Whatever the reason, by some estimates, more than 10,000 people die each year because of a misdiagnosed heart attack. Timely diagnosis is critical because life-saving drugs need to be administered before an injury to the heart becomes fatal.

Examples of Heart Attack Misdiagnoses

Many people appear in emergency rooms with symptoms that mimic those of heart attacks. Fewer than 20 percent of these patients are actually experiencing a heart attack, making it easier for medical personnel to disregard symptoms, especially if the patient is atypical. Instead, patients who have chest pain, sweating, shoulder pain, shortness of breath and trouble breathing, dizziness or nausea, and anxiety are misdiagnosed. Instead of heart attack, these people are given diagnoses of:

  • Indigestion
  • Angina
  • Anxiety
  • Acid reflux
  • Gallstones
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia

They are usually sent home, sometimes with medication intended to treat the condition.

Why Does Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Happen?

Misread tests, failure to take a full history (including medications), failure to inquire about lifestyle, patient age, failure to entertain a diagnosis of heart attack in patients who do not fit the profile, failure to consult appropriate specialists, lab errors, failure to perform thorough physical exam and other mistakes leave patients at risk for serious injury and death.

Contact Our Pittsburgh Attorneys

If you believe your heart attack was misdiagnosed because of negligence and failure to adhere to the accepted standard of care, talk to our Pittsburgh lawyers. Find out how they can help you obtain justice and send a signal that misdiagnosis of heart attacks is not acceptable. Email us to learn how we can help. Remember, there is no attorney’s fee unless we win your case.

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