Recognizing reasons for prehospital delay after symptoms of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is established in developed countries yet evidence from Latin America is limited. We aimed to assess ACS symptom recognition, health care-seeking behavior, and confidence in local health care facilities to take care of ACS by gender in a sample of Peruvians.
A community-based interview survey in a peri-urban area in Lima, Peru. The 24-item study instrument included vignettes and questions assessing identification of urgent and emergent ACS symptoms, anticipated help-seeking behaviors, and confidence in local health care facilities.
In the study population (90 people; 45.6% men; mean age, 43.5 years), women were 4 times less likely to correctly attribute symptoms of chest pain to the heart (OR = 0.23; 95% CI: 0.063–0.87; P = 0.03). Women were much more likely to respond that a man would “Seek help” (OR = 4.54; 95% CI: 1.21–16.90; P = 0.024) and that “Yes,” a woman would be less likely to seek help for chest pain symptoms (OR = 3.26; 95% CI: 1.13–9.41 P = 0.029) after adjusting for age, education level, age at migration, and history of chest pain. Women were less likely than men to think that their local Health Care Post would help them if they had a heart attack (2.1% vs. 14.6%; P = 0.04), and only 18.7% of women believed that their local emergency room would help them.
Our findings suggest women are less likely to seek help for chest pain and women and men in a peri-urban area in Peru are not confident in their local health care facility to treat urgent or emergent ACS symptoms.