Background: Women undergoing coronary angiography (CA) due to chest pain are more likely to present with less extensive coronary artery disease (CAD) than men, which might be attributed to different effects of cardiovascular risk factors on coronary atherogenesis between sexes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate sex differences in independent factors associated with obstructive and non-obstructive CAD in a large consecutive cohort of patients undergoing elective CA.
Methods: Data from 7819 patients (2653 women and 5184 men), including cardiovascular risk factors, clinical presentation, CAD severity and treatment decisions were analysed.
Results: Women were older than men (65 ± 11 vs. 63 ± 11 years, p < 0.001); low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL; 125 ± 38 vs. 122 ± 37 mg/dL, p < 0.001) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) cholesterol levels (62 ± 18 vs. 51 ± 15 mg/dL, p < 0.001) were higher in women; and smokers were more frequently men (14.4 vs. 20.1%, p < 0.001). Men more frequently had an obstructive CAD (41.1 vs. 65.6%, p < 0.001). Multivariable analyses revealed age, HDL cholesterol, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension and a positive family history being associated with obstructive CAD in both sexes, whereas smoking was independently associated with obstructive CAD only in women. The association of hypercholesterolaemia with obstructive CAD was stronger in men. For non-obstructive CAD, no sex-specific associated factors could be identified.
Conclusion: The impact of smoking and hypercholesterolaemia on coronary atherosclerosis is different between women and men. This might be taken into account when planning individual interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk.