MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Duvernoy: We wanted to look at the indications and outcomes for women veterans undergoing cardiac catheterization procedures as compared with men veterans, given that we know that there are significant gender differences in the non-veteran population between women and men undergoing cardiac catheterization.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Duvernoy: Our report indicates that women veterans undergoing cardiac catheterization had a significantly different risk profile than both men veterans and civilian women. In contrast to the general population, in which women are typically older and have more cardiovascular risk factors than males, women veterans were younger and had fewer conventional risk factors, but they did have high rates of depression and PTSD, highlighting mental health as a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) and adverse outcomes after acute coronary syndrome, and potentially also for presentation with non-cardiac chest pain.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Duvernoy: We need to better understand why women experience chest pain in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease. The optimal method of diagnosis and therapy for patients with chest pain in the absence of obstructive CAD warrants further study. Also, the interplay between psychological factors and the presence of chest pain merits further research.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Claire Duvernoy, MD (2015). Women Veterans Undergoing Cardiac Catheterization Highlight Link Between Stress and CAD