Stable ischemic heart disease in women: current perspectives


Fatima Samad,1 Anushree Agarwal,2 Zainab Samad3

1Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Sinai/Aurora St Luke’s Medical Centers, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Milwaukee, WI, 2Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, 3Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

Abstract:
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women accounting for 1 in every 4 female deaths. Pathophysiology of ischemic heart disease in women includes epicardial coronary artery, endothelial dysfunction, coronary vasospasm, plaque erosion and spontaneous coronary artery dissection. Angina is the most common presentation of stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD) in women. Risk factors for SIHD include traditional risks such as older age, obesity (body mass index [BMI] >25 kg/m2), smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular disease, sedentary lifestyle, family history of premature coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus, and nontraditional risk factors, such as gestational diabetes, insulin resistance/polycystic ovarian disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, menopause, mental stress and autoimmune diseases. Diagnostic testing can be used effectively to risk stratify women. Guidelines-directed medical therapy including aspirin, statins, beta-blocker therapy, calcium channel blockers and ranolazine should be instituted for symptom and ischemia management. Despite robust evidence regarding the adverse outcomes seen in women with ischemic heart disease, knowledge gaps exist in several areas. Future research needs to be directed toward a greater understanding of the role of nontraditional risk factors for SIHD in women, gaining deeper insights into the sex differences in therapeutic effects and formulating a sex-specific algorithm for the management of SIHD in women.

Keywords: stable ischemic heart disease, women


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