Prof. Viola Vaccarino
After many years of neglect, interest in the area of ischemic heart disease in women has grown over the past 20 years. This growing interest has been in part stimulated by campaigns by leading health organizations to increase awareness of this problem among the public, the health care providers, and the researchers. Despite these efforts, awareness of cardiovascular risk remains low among women, some disparities in management persist, and inclusion of women in cardiovascular clinical trials still substantially lags that of men. Additionally, although research papers on ischemic heart disease in women have grown, there are still substantial gaps in our understanding of the pathophysiology, risk factors, preventive strategies and effective treatments for women.
Many reviews, monographs and position papers have been published on various aspects of heart disease in women. We think that these activities have been useful in driving attention to this important area, but limited data substantiate many of these statements. We need to recognize these limitations in order to guide future progress. Key questions concerning sex differences in pathophysiology, presentation and outcomes of ischemic heart disease remain unanswered, as are those pertaining to strategies for prevention and treatment of heart disease in women. A comprehensive evaluation of the achievements, as well as the gaps that still remain in this field is needed. This is what we want to achieve with this paper.
The Working Group will review current knowledge supporting sex differences in the pathophysiology, presentation and treatment of ischemic heart disease. A detailed description of the state of the science, with recognition of the shortcomings of current data, will be developed. Based on our review, we will articulate recommendations for future research.
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