Acute coronary syndrome in women of reproductive age

Int J Womens Health. 2011;3:375-80. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S15825. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


Background: There is scarce or no data on prevalence and presentation of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) among women of reproductive age. Furthermore, whether women of reproductive age presenting with ACS have the same risk factors as men and older women is not known.

Objective: To analyze factors associated with ACS in women of reproductive age in comparison with older women and men of a similar age group.

Methodology: A total of 9702 cases of acute coronary syndrome over a 3-year period ( 2006-2008) from the National Cardiovascular Disease database were analyzed, with focus on women of reproductive age (20-<40 years), looking into association with ethnicity, comorbid illness, and the ACS stratum. Comparison with older women (40-<60 years; Control 1) and men of similar age group (Control 2) was made and analyzed using Fisher's exact test and chi-square test when necessary.

Results: From a total of 9702 cases, 2344 (24.2%) were women. Of these, 45 (1.9%) were women between 20 and <40 years, which is significantly lower than the two controls (older women 30.8%, and men of same age 6.2%, respectively; P < 0.0001). The distribution of ethnicity shows a similar pattern between the study group and the controls, but patients of Indian ethnicity were over-represented when compared with the Malaysian demographics of general population (31.3% versus 7.1%; P < 0.0001). ACS in women of reproductive age was associated with diabetes mellitus in 37.8%, hypertension in 40.0%, and dyslipidemia in 24.4% of cases, similar to men of the same age but significantly lower than the older women (P < 0.0001). Smoking is not a major risk factor in the study group, where only 6.7% ever smoked, similar to older women (6.8%, P = 1.000) and significantly much less compared with men of the same age (84.1%; P < 0.0001). Regarding the ACS stratum, a significantly higher percentage of women in the study group had ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction compared with older women (P = 0.0085) but less than that of men of similar age (P = 0.0187).

Conclusion: ACS is rare in women of reproductive age. Diabetes, hypertension, and Indian ethnicity were identified as important contributors.

Keywords: comorbidities; reproductive-aged women; risk factors.