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By Joseph Dell
Managing Partner

Heart disease is routinely misdiagnosed in the U.S. A heart disease misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional delays or incorrectly diagnoses heart disease in a patient. Heart disease is often accompanied by atypical symptoms and comorbidities, making it difficult for many healthcare professionals to correctly diagnose their patients. In this article, we examine why heart disease is commonly misdiagnosed. 

Misdiagnosis of Heart Disease

Heart disease is a medical condition that is commonly misdiagnosed by physicians due to the variety of comorbidities that share symptoms of heart disease. Patients suffering from heart disease are often misdiagnosed as having a variety of other conditions, such as indigestion, panic disorder, COPD, and asthma. 

Misdiagnosis of Heart Disease and Women

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death among all ages, races, and genders, it is most commonly misdiagnosed in women. The reason for the misdiagnosis of heart disease in women is that its symptoms present themselves in a different manner in women than in men. Men often display telltale symptoms of heart disease, such as jaw pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and sweating. Women, on the other hand, often have atypical symptoms, like back pain, shoulder pain, and feelings of indigestion.

In fact, studies show that approximately two-thirds of women who suddenly die from undiagnosed heart disease fail to present typical symptoms prior to their deaths. Often, women experience pain in other areas of the body, making it difficult for doctors to pinpoint the cause of their symptoms. 

Consequences of Misdiagnosis 

As noted above, since heart disease symptoms can range in their severity from common to atypical, the disease is frequently misdiagnosed as another condition. Common incorrect diagnoses of heart disease include anemia, anxiety, lung disease, COPD, and kidney disease. In fact, one study found that approximately eight percent of heart disease patients were previously misdiagnosed with COPD. 

Regardless of the cause or nature of a misdiagnosis, when a doctor misdiagnoses a patient, the consequences can be serious. Specifically, a misdiagnosis of heart disease can allow the disease to advance and result in serious—and even fatal—complications. Generally, the misdiagnosis of this serious disease can increase the odds of a poor outcome in two ways. First, a patient may experience adverse effects due to being placed on the wrong medication. And second, the misdiagnosis of heart disease can cause the disease to advance undetected. 

Contact a Misdiagnosis Attorney 

If you are a medical misdiagnosis victim, you should contact an experienced misdiagnosis lawyer as soon as possible. At Dell & Dean, PLLC, we know that the victims of medical malpractice experience many challenges, including painful medical treatments and expensive medical bills. Therefore, when you come to us for assistance, we will do everything in our power to obtain financial compensation on your behalf. Please contact Dell & Dean, PLLC, today to arrange a no-obligation consultation with one of our talented misdiagnosis attorneys.

About the Author
Joseph G. Dell, the firm’s Managing Partner, is regarded as one of New York State’s top trial lawyers and a zealous advocate of those injured through the negligence of others. Having founded the firm in 1994 with the singular goal of leveling the playing field for those injured, Mr. Dell has worked tirelessly for his clients since its inception. In addition to meeting with clients on a daily basis and trying cases, Mr. Dell is a frequent lecturer at Law School and Bar Associations on cases of significant importance in the fields of negligence and medical malpractice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact Mr. Dell here.