Last Thanksgiving, Cynthia Mosson had been on her feet all day in her kitchen in Frankfort, Ind., preparing dinner for nine. She was nearly finished — the ham in the oven, the dressing made — when she suddenly felt the need to sit down.
“I started hurting in my left shoulder,” said Ms. Mosson, 61. “It got really intense, and it started to go down my left arm.” She grew sweaty and pale and told her family, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”
An ambulance sped her to a hospital where doctors confirmed that she had suffered a mild heart attack. They said testing revealed serious blockages in all her coronary arteries and told her, “You’re going to need open-heart surgery,” Ms. Mosson recalled.
When such patients head into an operating room, what happens next has a lot to do with their sex, a recent study in JAMA Surgery reported. The study reinforced years of research showing that male and female patients can have very different outcomes following an operation called coronary artery bypass grafting.