Heart Failure and Women
Heart failure affects about 2.5 million women in the United States. Despite the fact that women account for nearly 50% of all hospital admissions for heart failure, only 25% of women are involved in heart failure studies. Consequently, advances in heart failure therapies apply to most men, but have not been adequately studied in women.
Differences of women with heart failure as compared to men with heart failure:
- Women tend to develop congestive heart failure at an older age than men.
- Women tend to develop diastolic heart failure with a more normal ejection fraction than men. Ejection fraction is the measurement of how much blood is being pumped out of the left ventricle of the heart. Heart failure can occur due to a weakened heart muscle (systolic heart failure) or may be related to a stiff, inflexible heart muscle (diastolic heart failure). In some cases the ejection fraction can be normal, but due to the increased pressures inside the heart and lungs, the patient can have heart failure. Learn more
- The causes of heart failure in women are often linked to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, valvular disease, and diabetes mellitus.
- Although rare, peripartum cardiomyopathy is a cause of heart failure unique to women. Peripartum cardiomyopathy is the rare development of heart failure within the last month of pregnancy, or within five months after delivery. Peripartum cardiomyopathy occurs without an identifiable cause.
- Depression is frequently associated with heart failure and is more common in women than men.
- Although the signs and symptoms of heart failure are the same among men and women, women tend to have more symptoms such as shortness of breath and more difficulty exercising than men. They also have swelling around their ankles more frequently than men.
- In general, women survive longer than men with heart failure.
|Study||Number of Women||% Women/Total Patients|
|CHARM - Overall||2400||32|
|CHARM - Preserved||1212||40|
|ELITE - II||966||31|
Dr. Eileen Hsich, specialist in Women & Heart Failure
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*a new browser window will open with this link. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the web sites or any association with their operator
written with Dr. Eileen Hsich, specialist in Women & Heart Failure