Emily Lau, MD, MPH Cardiologist Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School Director, Menopause, Hormones & Cardiovascular Disease Clinic Massachusetts General Hospital

MGH Study Finds Infertility Associated with Increased Risk of Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emily Lau, MD, MPH Cardiologist Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School Director, Menopause, Hormones & Cardiovascular Disease Clinic Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Lau

Emily Lau, MD, MPH
Cardiologist
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Director, Menopause, Hormones & Cardiovascular Disease Clinic
Massachusetts General Hospital

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Emerging data suggest that a woman’s reproductive history influences her future risk of heart disease.

Infertility is a reproductive risk factor that affects ~14% of women but has not been rigorously studied with respect to its relationship with cardiovascular disease risk.

We studied over 38,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative and found that infertility was associated with greater risk of heart failure. In particular, we found that the association was driven by greater risk of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, a form of heart failure that is far more common among women.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: It is important that we consider a woman’s reproductive history including infertility, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and age of menopause when we evaluate her risk of cardiovascular disease.  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Infertility is common among women. One in 7 women have a history of infertility, but physicians and scientists have not previously recognized the link between infertility and cardiovascular disease. Few cohort studies captured information about a woman’s history of infertility. That is what makes the WHI so special; the initial study investigators have the foresight to recognize the importance of asking women about their infertility history when they designed the initial study. Beyond incorporating infertility in research study designs, we need more prospective studies focused on understanding the mechanisms that underlie the link between infertility and heart disease. 

Citation: Infertility and Risk of Heart Failure in the Women’s Health Initiative

Emily S. Lau, Dongyu Wang, Mary Roberts, Christy N. Taylor, Gayathree Murugappan, Aladdin H. Shadyab, Peter F. Schnatz,Leslie V. Farland, Malissa J. Wood, Nandita S. Scott, Charles B. Eaton, and  Jennifer E. Ho

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Apr, 79 (16) 1594–1603

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Apr 19, 2022 @ 11:02 am

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