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Combined cardiac imaging diagnoses heart attack in women left wondering after initial testing

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Combined cardiac imaging diagnoses heart attack in women left wondering after initial testing

Additional diagnostic heart imaging can help root out the underlying cause of heart attack in women who show no signs of artery blockage on their angiogram, according to a new study. 

NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers shared results from the international, multicenter Women’s Heart Attack Research Program, or HARP, on Nov. 14 at the American Heart Association’s virtual meeting.

Among the more than 300 participants included in the study, coronary optical coherence tomography (OCT) and cardiac MR imaging results explained why symptoms and blood tests were consistent with a heart attack in 84% of cases.

Ordering follow-up cardiac imaging may guide treatment to prevent additional heart attacks in those with myocardial infarction with nonobstructive coronary arteries, or MINOCA, researchers noted.

“Our findings are important because women (or men) with MINOCA have historically been told that since the angiogram is OK, they never had a heart attack,” Harmony R. Reynolds, MD, director of NYU Langone’s Sarah Ross Soter Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Research, said in a statement. “This is entirely wrong for about two-thirds of the women who had both imaging tests, and misleading for one-quarter of the women because we found they had another problem that was not related to blood flow and could be diagnosed via cardiac MRI.”

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