Women and Heart Disease

Bill Bestermann

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The second floor conference room was filled to capacity for my talk this Tuesday.  Most of those present were women.  They listened very attentively for the entire 45 minute presentation, and there was a lot of head-nodding in affirmation and generally positive signals of an engaged audience.  Then they stayed for 45 minutes to ask questions,  The questions showed that they had “gotten it.”  They were there for an hour and a half.

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The High Cost of Ignoring a Large Body of Specific Research Aimed at Women and Heart Disease


There may be no more striking disconnect between new compelling science and current practice than we see in the treatment of women with chest pain.  Just today, I saw a woman in her early 50s who has had recurrent chest pain for over two years.  She has a family history of heart attack and she is prediabetic with high cholesterol,  LDL cholesterol , and triglycerides. She has low HDL or good cholesterol.  She is a high risk patient for cardiovascular disease.  Her pain was not characteristic of exertional angina as we might see in a man.  She had the pain that we frequently see in women that is brought on by stress or may just occur spontaneously.  Her pain lasts for several minutes and it is reliably relieved by nitroglycerin.  She had a normal stress test 6 months ago and another 2 years ago.

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