Cardiovascular and metabolic profiles amongst different polycystic ovary syndrome phenotypes: who is really at risk?

Fertil Steril. 2014 Nov;102(5):1444-1451.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.08.001. Epub 2014 Sep 16.


Objective: To study the cardiometabolic profile characteristics and compare the prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors between women with different polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) phenotypes.

Design: A cross-sectional multicenter study analyzing 2,288 well phenotyped women with PCOS.

Setting: Specialized reproductive outpatient clinic.

Patient(s): Women of reproductive age (18-45 years) diagnosed with PCOS.

Intervention(s): Women suspected of oligo- or anovulation underwent a standardized screening consisting of a systematic medical and reproductive history taking, anthropometric measurements, and transvaginal ultrasonography followed by an extensive endocrinologic/metabolic evaluation.

Main outcome measure(s): Differences in cardiometabolic profile characteristics and CV risk factor prevalence between women with different PCOS phenotypes, i.e., obesity/overweight, hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome.

Result(s): Women with hyperandrogenic PCOS (n=1,219; 53.3% of total) presented with a worse cardiometabolic profile and a higher prevalence of CV risk factors, such as obesity and overweight, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome, compared with women with nonhyperandrogenic PCOS. In women with nonhyperandrogenic PCOS overweight/obesity (28.5%) and dyslipidemia (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol≥3.0 mmol/L; 52.2%) were highly prevalent.

Conclusion(s): Women with hyperandrogenic PCOS have a worse cardiometabolic profile and higher prevalence of CV risk factors compared with women with nonhyperandrogenic PCOS. However, all women with PCOS should be screened for the presence of CV risk factors, since the frequently found derangements at a young age imply an elevated risk for the development of CV disease later in life.

Keywords: Polycystic ovary syndrome; cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult