Researchers at the DCRI frequently undertake projects that reveal disparities in health care and outcomes along gender, racial, or ethnic lines. In recognition of Heart Month and Go Red for Women, the DCRI is highlighting its cardiologists whose research relates to gender differences in heart health. We pride ourselves on taking our research a step further by not only identifying these inequities, but by seeking to remedy them. These efforts correspond to our mission to share knowledge that improves care around the world — for all patients.
Why should women be concerned about their heart health?
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, but research shows that female heart patients often receive different treatment than men. Our researchers are working to ensure that in the future, the only differences in treatment result from determining the best course of action for each individual patient, and not from inequities in care.
How is the DCRI helping to improve the state of women's cardiovascular health?
The DCRI’s work does not end with identifying and eliminating health disparities — we are also working to optimize cardiovascular care for women at every stage of their health care journeys. A few of our discoveries include instances in which certain diagnostic tests may be more accurate for female patients and approaches to treatment that lead to better outcomes for women. We look forward to making even more discoveries in the future that benefit women and reduce their cardiovascular risk.
A Proactive Approach to Preventing Problems
The DCRI’s Melissa Daubert, MD, is investigating when women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy receive scans, which could prevent cardiovascular events later in life.
Designing Treatments With Women in Mind
DCRI researcher Sunil Rao, MD, found an approach to treating women undergoing catheterization or percutaneous coronary intervention that significantly reduces bleeding.
Identifying Differences in Diagnostic Tests
Findings from the DCRI’s Neha Pagidipati, MD, suggest that among women, a computed tomography angiogram may be more effective than a stress test in predicting future coronary events.
Who at the DCRI is conducting this research?
The DCRI's cardiovascular researchers are asking tough questions and seeking new answers to improve heart health for both men and women. A handful of our cardiologists, who are both researchers and clinicians, share their insights on the field and discuss what they see as the biggest issues in women’s cardiovascular health.
Who inspires the DCRI to do this research?
Faculty members at the DCRI are clinicians and researchers, meaning they are inspired to conduct research based on needs they see in their patient populations. Our researchers strive to engage patients in research and enable them to make their own decisions related to their treatment and care. This approach is no different in the women's heart health space, where there are many initiatives designed to empower women to be involved in their health.
What is next for the DCRI and women's heart health?
While we have made great strides toward eliminating gender disparities, we recognize that there is still more work to be done to make equitable, high-quality health care research inclusive and accessible to all. If you are interested in our approach, start a conversation by emailing Martin Hunicutt, Business Development, Cardiovascular and Metabolic. We look forward to new partnerships that help us make advances in women’s heart health.
- Hemal, K, Pagidipati NJ, et al. Sex differences in demographics, risk factors, presentation, and noninvasive testing in stable outpatients with suspected coronary artery disease. JACC Cardiovascular Imaging. 2016;9(4):337-346.
- Hess CN, Kaltenbach LA, Doll JA, Cohen DJ, Peterson ED, Wang TY. Race and sex differences in post-myocardial infarction angina frequency and risk of 1-year unplanned rehospitalization. Circulation. 2017;134:532-543.
- Piccini JP, Simon DN, et al. Differences in clinical and functional outcomes of atrial fibrillation in women and men. JAMA Cardiology. 2016;1(3):282-291.