Gender differences in the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and outcomes of ischemic heart failure

Curr Heart Fail Rep. 2012 Dec;9(4):267-76. doi: 10.1007/s11897-012-0107-7.


Despite advances in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure (HF) remains a frequent acute and long-term outcome of ischemic heart disease (IHD). In response to acute coronary ischemia, women are relatively protected from apoptosis, and experience less adverse cardiac remodeling than men, frequently resulting in preservation of left ventricular size and ejection fraction. Despite these advantages, women are at increased risk for HF- complicating acute MI when compared with men. However, women with HF retain a survival advantage over men with HF, including a decreased risk of sudden death. Sex-specific treatment of HF has been hindered by historical under-representation of women in clinical trials, though recent work has suggested that women may have a differential response to some therapies such as cardiac resynchronization. This review highlights the sex differences in the pathophysiology, clinical presentation and outcomes of ischemic heart failure and discusses key areas worthy of further investigation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Remodeling / physiology