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      A personalized medicine target: heart failure in women

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          It is increasingly known that gender differences affect disease presentation, clinical pathways, diagnostic yield and prognosis of patients with cardiovascular disorders. There are novel insights regarding heart failure that provide a platform for personalized medicine. This is a review of the existent data about heart failure in women, a neglected topic that has gained considerable interest in the past years.

          Heart failure in women differs in many aspects from that of men. Part of the difference is attributable to age, ventricular function and cause of heart failure, with women being generally older at heart failure onset, more often without left ventricular systolic dysfunction and less often having heart failure due to ischaemic heart disease, in comparison with men. Elucidation of the genetic and pathophysiological basis of sex differences, together with clinical trials designed to study the impact of treatments in women, could lead to sex based heart failure management.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Lifetime risk for developing congestive heart failure: the Framingham Heart Study.

          Congestive heart failure (CHF) is an increasing public health problem. Among Framingham Heart Study subjects who were free of CHF at baseline, we determined the lifetime risk for developing overt CHF at selected index ages. We followed 3757 men and 4472 women from 1971 to 1996 for 124 262 person-years; 583 subjects developed CHF and 2002 died without prior CHF. At age 40 years, the lifetime risk for CHF was 21.0% (95% CI 18.7% to 23.2%) for men and 20.3% (95% CI 18.2% to 22.5%) for women. Remaining lifetime risk did not change with advancing index age because of rapidly increasing CHF incidence rates. At age 80 years, the lifetime risk was 20.2% (95% CI 16.1% to 24.2%) for men and 19.3% (95% CI 16.5% to 22.2%) for women. Lifetime risk for CHF doubled for subjects with blood pressure >/=160/100 versus <140/90 mm Hg. In a secondary analysis, we only considered those who developed CHF without an antecedent myocardial infarction; at age 40 years, the lifetime risk for CHF was 11.4% (95% CI 9.6% to 13.2%) for men and 15.4% (95% CI 13.5% to 17.3%) for women. When established clinical criteria are used to define overt CHF, the lifetime risk for CHF is 1 in 5 for both men and women. For CHF occurring in the absence of myocardial infarction, the lifetime risk is 1 in 9 for men and 1 in 6 for women, which highlights the risk of CHF that is largely attributable to hypertension. These results should assist in predicting the population burden of CHF and placing greater emphasis on prevention of CHF through hypertension control and prevention of myocardial infarction.
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            2010 Focused Update of ESC Guidelines on device therapy in heart failure: an update of the 2008 ESC Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure and the 2007 ESC guidelines for cardiac and resynchronization therapy. Developed with the special contribution of the Heart Failure Association and the European Heart Rhythm Association.

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              Sex differences in cardiac adaptation to isolated systolic hypertension.

              This study examines the association of isolated systolic hypertension with left ventricular (LV) mass and geometry in men and women. The subjects of this study were surviving members of the Framingham Heart Study and the Framingham Offspring Study who attended the index examination (between 1979 and 1983) and were aged > or = 50 years, free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease, not taking antihypertensive medication and without diastolic hypertension (diastolic blood pressure < 90 mm Hg), and in whom LV mass could be determined by echocardiography. Examinations routinely included 12-lead resting electrocardiography, measurements of resting blood pressure, anthropometry, blood glucose levels, and M-mode echocardiography. M-mode echocardiograms adequate to assess LV hypertrophy were obtained for 1,282 normotensive subjects (538 men and 744 women) and 79 subjects with isolated systolic hypertension (26 men and 53 women). Adjusting for age, body mass index and diastolic blood pressure, the relative odds of LV hypertrophy associated with isolated systolic hypertension were 2.58 (95% confidence interval 0.97 to 6.86) in men and 5.94 (95% confidence interval 3.06 to 11.53) in women. Women with isolated systolic hypertension had increased LV wall thickness and mass without LV chamber enlargement, but men had LV dilation and increased LV mass without increased wall thickness. In conclusion, although isolated systolic hypertension was associated with increased LV mass in men and women, the geometric pattern of increased LV mass differed by sex; although women demonstrated a pattern of concentric hypertrophy, an eccentric pattern was observed in men.

                Author and article information

                J Med Life
                Journal of Medicine and Life
                Carol Davila University Press (Romania )
                15 August 2011
                25 August 2011
                : 4
                : 3
                : 280-286
                Author notes
                Correspondence to:Carmen Ginghin̆, MD, PhD, Cardiology Clinic of ‘Prof. Dr. C. C. Iliescu’ Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases 258 Fundeni Road, Bucharest, 022328, Romania
                ©Carol Davila University Press

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                General Article


                ejection fraction, women, heart failure, cardiomiopathy


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