Sex differences in STEMI activation for patients presenting to the ED 1939

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The objective was to determine whether sex was independently associated with door to ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) activation time. We hypothesized that women are more likely to experience longer delays to STEMI activation than men.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adults ≥18 years who underwent STEMI activation at 3 urban emergency departments between 2010 and 2014. The Wilcoxon rank sum test and logistic regression were used to compare men and women regarding time to activation and proportion with times <15 minutes, respectively.


Of 400 eligible patients, we excluded 61 (15%) with prehospital activations, 44 (11%) arrests, and 3 (1%) transfers. Of the remaining 292 patients, mean age was 61 ± 13 years, 64% were men, 57% were black, and 37% arrived by ambulance. Median door to STEMI activation time was 7.0 minutes longer for women than for men (25.5 vs 18.5 minutes, P = .028). In addition, men were more likely than women to have a door to STEMI activation time <15 minutes (45% vs 28%, P = .006). After adjusting for race, hospital site, Emergency Severity Index triage level, arrival mode, and chief concern of chest pain, the odds of men having STEMI activation times <15 minutes were 1.9 times more likely than women.


Women have longer median door to STEMI activation times than men. A significantly lower proportion of women (28% vs 45%) are treated per American Heart Association guidelines of door to STEMI activation <15 minutes when compared with men, adjusting for confounders. Further investigation may identify possible etiology of bias and potential areas for intervention.

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