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Women’s heart health

It is increasingly recognized that symptoms of heart disease and disease progression are different between men and women.   Unlike in men, blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle (coronaries) in women may not be obstructed due to plaque build up, but are more likely to have small vessel disease that may not show up in traditional tests.  In fact, in one study, more than 9/10 women with multiple risk factors and symptoms did not show any evidence of heart disease in nuclear stress test1.  So, heart disease in women is under-diagnosed and women are traditionally underserved.

CPET can be used to accurately determine whether the symptoms in women are are due to a heart or lung condition, or due to obesity etc. CPET should be the cornerstone of all assessments for women’s heart disease because of the high degree of accuracy in detecting cardiac abnormalities from all mechanisms.

Shaw L.J. et. al. Comparative Effectiveness of Exercise Electrocardiography With or Without Myocardial Perfusion Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography in Women with Suspected Coronary Artery Disease – Results from the WOMAN Trial. Circulation. 2011. 124:1239-1249. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/124/11/1239