For many years the significance of heart disease in women was vastly underappreciated,
and women were significantly underrepresented in cardiovascular clinical research.
We now know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women. Women
and men share many similarities in the pathophysiology and manifestations of heart
disease. However, as research advances with the continued inclusion of more women,
knowledge about gender differences between the female and male heart, both on a physiological
and pathophysiological basis, grows. These differences can be found in all domains
of cardiovascular health and disease, including heart rhythm, heart failure, coronary
disease and valvular disease. Further understanding of gender differences in the heart
is crucial for advancing our ability to maintain a healthy population and identify
and treat heart disease in both women and men. Specific examples within the spectrum
of heart disease will be discussed in this review paper, and areas for further research
will be proposed.