06 November 2022

2 minute read


Wenger A. Dr. Nanette K. Wenger Research Goes Red Annual Award for Best Scientific Paper on Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke in Women. Presented at American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; November 5-7, 2022; Chicago (hybrid meeting).

Disclosures: Wenger does not report any relevant financial information.

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CHICAGO — Persistent gaps in knowledge and care delivery require urgent attention to reduce gender-based disparities and achieve equity in CV care and outcomes, a speaker says.

Research has identified important biological differences between women and men and their response to social, environmental and behavioral stresses, but the under-representation of women in all areas of biological research has delayed the translation of these findings, cardiology today Member of the editorial board Nanette K. Wenger, MD, MACC, MACP, FAHA, FASPCprofessor emeritus of medicine (cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine, consultant to the Emory Heart and Vascular Center, and founding consultant to the Emory Women’s Heart Center, said during a lecture on women and cardiovascular disease at the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association.

“We need a cultural shift when presenting CV health data,” Wenger said. “What we have done is identify the characteristics of men as an implicit ‘gold standard’ with presentations in women labeled as ‘atypical’. In fact, they are typical, for women.

Nanette K. Wenger

As part of a “call to action” to bring about change, Wenger said culturally sensitive awareness campaigns are needed to identify CVD as the major threat to women’s health.

“Women aren’t aware they’re at risk,” Wenger said. “We need to emphasize the benefits of prevention, because 80% to 90% of cardiovascular disease is preventable and there are benefits to optimizing lifetime cardiovascular health.”

Interdisciplinary collaboration between cardiologists, primary care physicians, and obstetricians/gynecologists can improve recognition of women’s CV risk across the lifespan, Wenger said.

“We need to have holistic risk reduction strategies,” she said.

Additionally, more basic, translational, clinical, population-based, and implementation research on cardiovascular disease and stroke in women of all ages is needed.

“We need to focus on underresourced populations and emphasize that there are opportunities for high rewards if you improve CV health across the lifespan,” Wenger said. “For our basic science colleagues, we need to ensure that animal studies include female animals and ensure that basic science uses and prepares female and male cell lines and stem cells.”

Communities must also be involved in initiatives to promote heart health, she said.

“Men did it with barbershop programs“, Wenger said. “For women, we need to go to nail and beauty salons. Then, we all need to advocate for public policy and legislative interventions that focus on the social determinants of health. important include access to healthy food, safe spaces for physical activity, clean indoor and outdoor air, and access to high-quality care for prevention and treatment.

Finally, monitoring systems are important for researchers to provide feedback to key stakeholders.

“We live in the digital age and we need to take advantage of innovative digital technologies that capture the metrics of prevention, outcomes and care delivery,” Wenger said. “You need a community. What we need to do is raise awareness, talk about prevention and optimized clinical care, support research, engage communities, advocate and track progress.

As Healio has already reported, an AHA presidential advisory, released in May, highlighted a “road map” for implementing a vision of equity for women and their CV health. The statement focused on epidemiology and prevention, awareness, access and equitable health care delivery, and called for action across multiple disciplines.