Gender-related differences in coronary artery dimensions: a volumetric analysis

Clin Cardiol. 2010 Feb;33(2):E44-9. doi: 10.1002/clc.20509.


Background: Women consistently have poorer revascularization outcomes and more coronary vascular complications compared to men. This has been attributed to smaller coronary arteries, though limited data exist to support this assumption.

Hypothesis: By using volumetric data obtained from multidetector cardiovascular computed tomography (CCT), we sought to determine to what extent gender influences coronary artery dimensions and test the hypothesis that women would have smaller coronary dimensions even after normalizing for body surface area and cardiac mass.

Methods: CCT examinations completed on a 64-slice scanner were identified from a university cardiovascular database. Data sets from 50 women and 44 men without coronary artery disease were selected for analysis. Cross-sectional areas of proximal and distal segments of the left anterior descending (LAD), circumflex (LCx), and right coronary artery (RCA) were measured, blinded to patient gender. Measurements were compared using 2-sample t tests and linear regression analysis techniques accounting for body surface area (BSA) and left ventricular (LV) mass.

Results: Analysis of cross-sectional coronary artery areas, unadjusted for BSA and LV mass showed smaller coronary artery size in women compared to men in the proximal portion of both the LAD (P = .01) and RCA (P = .002), but no significant difference in the remaining coronary segments.

Conclusion: Gender significantly impacts proximal LAD and RCA size. Differences in coronary artery dimensions may explain some, but not all excess gender-related risk with coronary artery revascularization, underscoring the importance of considering multiple contributing factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Surface Area
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Angiography / methods
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed