If you suffer from chest pain, your doctor may send you for an exercise treadmill test to check for clogged arteries. However, findings reported in the American Heart Journal say this treadmill test doesn—t always detect the problem in women-even when using an exercise test designed for females. In a study of 96 women with suspected coronary disease, heart X-rays showed that 29 women had significant narrowing in at least one coronary artery. However, the treadmill test detected a problem in only nine of them. What—s more, of the 67 women with little or no blockage, only 35 had a normal exercise test.
Further studies are still needed to determine the best way to diagnose artery blockages in women. In the meantime, the American Heart Association recommends that women with chest pain who have diabetes, an abnormal resting EKG or who are unable to exercise should have a cardiac imaging study rather than a treadmill test.