Comprehensive Heart Health Care for Women

Targeted Program Designed for Best Possible Results

The Women’s Cardiovascular Center of University Hospitals has been specifically created for women with cardiovascular disease and those at risk for developing heart or vascular problems.

This team is specially trained to provide advanced diagnostics and treatments to help women achieve and maintain cardiovascular health, working together with specialists from other areas of women’s health. As part of selecting a treatment, our experts take into account the unique ways heart disease manifests itself in women of all ages and potentially complicating factors such as pregnancy, breast cancer and menopause.

Cardiac Risks Unique to Women

Every minute, a mother, sister, daughter or friend dies of heart disease. Heart disease remains the largest single cause of death worldwide for women age 25 and older. In fact, six times as many women die of cardiovascular disease than breast cancer, according to the Women’s Heart Foundation. While some heart disease risk factors are common to both men and women, a number of issues have been identified that make heart disease especially dangerous to women, including:

  • Unique heart attack symptoms: The heart attack experience is dramatically different in women compared to men. Instead of the crushing chest pain men typically experience, women often report shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort, sleep disturbances, nausea, indigestion, pain in the neck and shoulders, and usual fatigue. Some women may wrongly attribute these symptoms to a panic disorder, stress, anxiety or age. Don’t delay. Don’t take chances. If you have chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Diagnosis and treatment: Coronary arteries are smaller in women, with disease often affecting very small distal arteries, which makes testing and treatment more difficult. Many times, the expertise of a specialty program, like our Women’s Cardiovascular Center, is needed for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
  • Surgical complications: Women tend to have more complications than men after heart surgery.
  • Awareness: American Heart Association Go Red for Women and similar campaigns have been helpful in increasing awareness of heart disease as the leading cause of death in women. However, many women still don’t consider it a serious personal health risk.
  • Complex risk factors such as:
    • Blood lipids: Blood cholesterol levels tend to rise after menopause.
    • Tobacco: Heart attack is twice as likely in female smokers compared to men who smoke.
    • Diabetes: Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease for both men and women, but the risk is higher for women.

Women also have a greater lifetime risk for developing cardiovascular disease if they have a history of:

Personalized Treatment Plans

At the Women’s Cardiovascular Center, an individualized plan is developed for each patient based on age, risk factors, symptoms and test results. Treatment strategies may include lifestyle changes, medication, noninvasive intervention and/or surgery.

Our team is experienced in handling every aspect of heart and vascular disease in women, with:

  • Early detection of coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart failure and vascular disease
  • Prevention and management of coronary and vascular disease, high-risk pregnancy and high cholesterol
  • Cardiac catheterization to detect abnormalities or blockages in blood vessels
  • Specialized diagnostics, such as 3-D echocardiography, optical coherence tomography (OCT), intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and HeartFlow® technology
  • Vascular medicine for treating arterial and venous disease, wounds, warfarin failure and blood clot disorders
  • Cardiac, carotid, peripheral vascular and lower extremity vessel therapies
  • Electrophysiology procedures, from diagnostic studies and arrhythmia mapping to pacemaker and defibrillator implantation, and catheter ablation
  • Advanced minimally invasive interventional procedures like transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for aortic stenosis
  • Traditional and complex heart and vascular surgery, including ventricular assist devices (VAD) and heart transplantation
  • Fitness training, tobacco cessation and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation

Local Presenting Sponsor of Go Red for Women®

GO RED for women American Heart AssociationIn 2010, the American Heart Association (AHA) set a strategic goal of reducing death and disability from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent while improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent by the year 2020. The AHA’s Go Red For Women campaign has helped make great strides toward achieving this goal.

Go Red For Women is a special year-round movement that educates women about the risks of heart disease and empowers them to take charge of their own heart health. Tools such as educational programs, screening events, and diet and exercise seminars have helped motivate and inspire participants.

Recognizing the need to help the AHA educate women about heart disease, University Hospitals joined the Go Red For Women campaign, serving as the local presenting sponsor since 2006. In this leading role, our mission is to present community outreach programs designed to educate women about the signs and symptoms of heart disease, encourage early detection, and support lifestyle changes to lessen the risk.

Sponsorship of the Go Red For Women program is one important way University Hospitals is educating women throughout the region about how to minimize the risk of heart and vascular disease, and encourages all women to invest in their health as a priority.