Overview

Heart disease affects men and women in different ways. In women, symptoms of burgeoning heart disease are often more insidious, but when a heart attack strikes, it is more lethal than it is in men. Roughly 25 percent of men will die within a year of their first heart attack, but among women, 38 percent will die. Women are twice as likely as men to have a second heart attack within 6 years of their first one, and women are twice as likely as men to die after bypass surgery. Yet after a heart attack, women’s hearts are more likely to maintain their systolic function—their ability to contract and pump blood from the chambers into the arteries. According to C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, Director of the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, this suggests that heart disease manifests differently in women, affecting the microvasculature (small blood vessels) instead of the macrovasculature (major blood vessels) as it does in men. 

Learning Objectives

  • Review why women’s hearts were less likely than men’s to lose their ability to pump blood after a heart attack
  • Discuss the reduced likelihood of female heart patients presenting with obstructive coronary artery disease
  • Discuss the importance of small blood vessel dysfunction in terms of oxygen deprivation and subsequent damage to the heart, and compare effects with major artery damage
  • Link findings to why women are often misdiagnosed and suffer adverse events
  • Review strategies for improved diagnosis and treatment in women 


Faculty Disclosures

C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, FACC, FAHA

Services Provided for Promotional Purposes (Not for CME/CE) for Amgen, Gilead Sciences Medical Affairs, Pfizer, Inc., Speakers Bureau for Gilead Sciences Medical Affairs. 


Disclosures

Non-faculty contributors and others involved in the planning, development, and editing/review of the content have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

CME Information

CME

AMA PRA Category 1 Credits

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pmiCME designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CME

AANP

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pmiCME is approved as a provider of nurse practitioner continuing education by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. AANP Provider number 040308. This activity was planned in accordance with AANP Accreditation Standards and Policies.


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Not Applicable

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