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      Gender differences in coronary heart disease

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      Netherlands Heart Journal
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Cardiovascular disease develops 7 to 10 years later in women than in men and is still the major cause of death in women. The risk of heart disease in women is often underestimated due to the misperception that females are 'protected' against cardiovascular disease. The under-recognition of heart disease and differences in clinical presentation in women lead to less aggressive treatment strategies and a lower representation of women in clinical trials. Furthermore, self-awareness in women and identification of their cardiovascular risk factors needs more attention, which should result in a better prevention of cardiovascular events. In this review we summarise the major issues that are important in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease in women. (Neth Heart J 2010;18:598-603.).

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          Most cited references40

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          Cardiovascular sequelae of preeclampsia/eclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analyses.

          Preeclampsia affects 3% to 5% of gestations and eclampsia 0.05% to 0.93%, but their subsequent cardiovascular sequelae are unclear. The aim of this study was to determine if women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia are at increased risk of long-term cardiovascular sequelae. From Medline and Embase searches, we included case-control and cohort studies that examined cardiac, cerebrovascular or peripheral arterial disease, or cardiovascular mortality>6 weeks postpartum, in women with and without a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia and that controlled for or matched for confounders. Two independent reviewers determined study eligibility and extracted data. Five case-control and 10 cohort studies met eligibility criteria, with a total of 116,175 women with and 2,259,576 women without preeclampsia/eclampsia. Most studies focused on women<56 years of age. Relative to women with uncomplicated pregnancies, women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia had an increased risk of subsequent cardiac disease in both the case-control studies (odds ratio 2.47, 95% CI 1.22-5.01) and the cohort studies (relative risk [RR] 2.33, 1.95-2.78), as well as an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease (RR 2.03, 1.54-2.67), peripheral arterial disease (RR 1.87, 0.94-3.73), and cardiovascular mortality (RR 2.29, 1.73-3.04). Meta-regression revealed a graded relationship between the severity of preeclampsia/eclampsia and the risk of cardiac disease (mild: RR 2.00, 1.83-2.19, moderate: RR 2.99, 2.51-3.58, severe: RR 5.36, 3.96-7.27, P<.0001). Women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia have approximately double the risk of early cardiac, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial disease, and cardiovascular mortality. Further research is needed to determine the mechanisms underlying these associations and to identify effective prevention strategies.
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            Women and ischemic heart disease: evolving knowledge.

            Evolving knowledge regarding sex differences in coronary heart disease is emerging. Given the lower burden of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and preserved systolic function in women, which contrasts with greater rates of myocardial ischemia and near-term mortality compared with men, we propose the term "ischemic heart disease" as appropriate for this discussion specific to women rather than CAD or coronary heart disease (CHD). This paradoxical difference, where women have lower rates of anatomical CAD but more symptoms, ischemia, and adverse outcomes, appears linked to abnormal coronary reactivity that includes microvascular dysfunction. Novel risk factors can improve the Framingham risk score, including inflammatory markers and reproductive hormones, as well as noninvasive imaging and functional capacity measurements. Risk for women with obstructive CAD is increased compared with men, yet women are less likely to receive guideline-indicated therapies. In the setting of non-ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction, interventional strategies are equally effective in biomarker-positive women and men, whereas conservative management is indicated for biomarker-negative women. For women with evidence of ischemia but no obstructive CAD, antianginal and anti-ischemic therapies can improve symptoms, endothelial function, and quality of life; however, trials evaluating impact on adverse outcomes are needed. We hypothesize that women experience more adverse outcomes compared with men because obstructive CAD remains the current focus of therapeutic strategies. Continued research is indicated to devise therapeutic regimens to improve symptom burden and reduce risk in women with ischemic heart disease.
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              Adverse cardiovascular outcomes in women with nonobstructive coronary artery disease: a report from the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation Study and the St James Women Take Heart Project.

              Women with clinical findings suggestive of ischemia but without findings of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) on angiography represent a frequent clinical problem; predicting prognosis is challenging. The Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study examined symptomatic women referred for clinically indicated coronary angiography and followed up for a mean 5.2 years. The St James Women Take Heart (WTH) Project enrolled asymptomatic, community-based women with no history of heart disease who were followed up for 10 years. We compared cardiovascular events (ie, myocardial infarction, stroke, and hospitalization for heart failure) and death in 540 WISE women with suspected ischemia but no angiographic evidence of obstructive CAD with those from a cohort of 1000 age- and race-matched WTH women. Compared with the WISE women, asymptomatic WTH women had a lower prevalence of obesity, family history of CAD, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus (P < .001). Five-year annualized event rates for cardiovascular events were 16.0% in WISE women with nonobstructive CAD (stenosis in any coronary artery of 1%-49%), 7.9% in WISE women with normal coronary arteries (stenosis of 0% in all coronary arteries), and 2.4% in asymptomatic WTH women (P < or = .002), after adjusting for baseline CAD risk factors. The cardiovascular events were most frequent in women with 4 or more cardiac risk factors, with the 5-year annualized cardiovascular event rate being 25.3% in women with nonobstructive CAD, 13.9% in WISE women with normal coronary arteries, and 6.5% in asymptomatic women (P = .003). Women with symptoms and signs suggestive of ischemia but without obstructive CAD are at elevated risk for cardiovascular events compared with asymptomatic community-based women.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Netherlands Heart Journal
                Neth Heart J
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1568-5888
                1876-6250
                November 2010
                May 15 2011
                November 2010
                : 18
                : 12
                : 598-603
                Article
                10.1007/s12471-010-0841-y
                3018605
                21301622
                0a011533-1296-4e3e-8b49-9251d9e72396
                © 2010

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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