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Common Mistakes in Heart Attack Diagnosis by Florida Physicians


Coronary heart disease remains the top cause of death in the US according to the American Heart Association (AHA), taking the lives of almost 366,000 individuals every year. However, additional statistics reveal that deaths from heart attack are not the only concern. AHA researchers estimate that around 605,000 people every year will experience their first heart attack, while another 200,000 individuals will sustain a recurrent acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Based upon these figures, someone in the US will have a heart attack every 39 seconds.

When you assess these numbers on heart attack in the US, it can be difficult to understand how a physician could possibly err with diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, these mistakes do occur, and the implications can be extreme. It is important to consult with a Miami heart attack malpractice lawyer about your legal options if you suffered harm, since you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses. A look at common errors in diagnosing and treating AMI may also be useful. 

  1. Failure to Address Risk Factors for AMI

Some aspects of your lifestyle may increase the chance of heart attack, while other risk factors are not within your control. Regardless of the underlying causes, a physician should consult with you on ways to address the impact of:

  • Tobacco use, including smoking, inhaling second-hand smoke, and chew
  • Obesity, which is linked to high cholesterol, increased triglyceride levels, hypertension, and diabetes – each of which is also a risk factor
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Use of alcohol and drugs
  • Family history 
  1. Mishandling Tests and Screenings

In the presence of risk factors or other circumstances, health care providers should take initiative by ordering such tests as coronary angiography, lipid panels, and related screenings. The results can play an important role in preventing an AMI or reducing the risk of a second heart attack. Physicians may also be negligent in misreading test results and following up. 

  1. Misdiagnosing as Another Medical Condition

Health care providers may make errors in diagnosing heart attack, especially when a patient is younger or does not fit the typical patient profile. Women in particular may present with symptoms not commonly associated with AMI. A heart attack could be confused with:

  • Severe heartburn or acid reflux
  • Bronchitis
  • Angina
  • Esophagitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Gallstones
  • Anxiety 
  1. Not Administering Medications for Heart Attack

Even assuming health care providers properly diagnose AMI, some mistakes are linked to improper medication. Examples include the failure to give the patient aspirin, clot-busting thrombolytics, antiplatelet agents, nitroglycerin, or AC inhibitors. In some cases, angioplasty, insertion of stents, or coronary artery bypass surgery may also be necessary along with medications. 

Speak to Our Florida Heart Attack Malpractice Attorneys About Legal Options

These are just a few of the mistakes physicians make related to diagnosing and treating AMI. For more information on recovering compensation through a medical malpractice claim, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL. You can set up a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who will assess your situation and explain the legal process.


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