Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in both men and women. However, marked differences in diagnoses, treatments and clinical outcomes were noted between the two sexes.
The problem with scientific studies
Historically, women are under-represented in clinical trials for cardiovascular disease where two-thirds involve male individuals only.
Medical and scientific teams extrapolate data resulting from male subjects to women who are distinct in terms of their physiology and hormonal changes that occur throughout their lives.
Things must change
In this era of individualized medicine, the gender of the patient should be taken into account.
Contrary to the general perception that cancer is the leading cause of death for women, it is now time to recognize that the reality is quite different: heart disease has been the number 1 killer of women in North America for the past 30 years.
According to scientific and medical literature, research should target populations of women deemed to be more at risk of developing cardiovascular disease (non-traditional risk factors), namely:
- Women who have chest radiotherapy treatments may develop valvular or coronary problems
- Women who were diagnosed with pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Organ transplant recipients taking immunosuppressants are at higher risk of developing heart disease.
- Women who had birth correction surgeries and are going through pregnancy-related changes.
- Perimenopausal women who do or do not take hormone replacement therapy.
- Women who suffer from depression and are getting treatment.
- Women who had chemotherapy for gynecological cancers.
The need for CardioF
Launched on January 28, 2021, CardioF Clinic aims at assessing and monitoring women with non-traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease as well as treating women who have atypical cardiovascular disease with pathologies typical of women.
Some diseases affect women more
The cardiovascular diseases that occur most often in women are the following:
• Microvascular diseases (non-obstructive INOCA, MINOCA).
• Stress cardiomyopathy (Takotsubo).
• Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).
Various other factors to consider
Furthermore, in a population characterized by multiculturalism and multiethnicity such as ours in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, it will be possible for us to study the societal, ethnic and environmental factors likely to influence the onset of heart disease.
A regional reference
Thousands of women will therefore be able to benefit from the study and women would be monitored within 3 groups:
- patients with traditional risk factors,
- patients with non-traditional risk factors
- patients with a cardiovascular disease diagnosis.
Research projects, teaching other professionals and students, public awareness and cardiovascular disease prevention campaigns would be part of CardioF's mission as well.
The first Cardiovascular Health Symposium at the CHUM, Montreal, will be held on September 22, 2022 in Montreal.
We intend to become a regional reference in women's cardiovascular health.