Female sex-specific and -predominant cardiovascular risk factors and heart failure practice guidelines

Am Heart J. 2022 May:247:63-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2022.01.007. Epub 2022 Feb 4.


Heart failure (HF) etiology, presentation and prognosis differ by sex, with female sex-specific and -predominant risk factors playing important roles. We systematically reviewed the studies cited by the 2017 American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association/ Heart Failure Society of America Focused Update of the 2013 ACCF/AHA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure. Female cardiovascular risk factors were broadly categorized as female sex-specific (reproductive, pregnancy, menopausal) and female sex-predominant (depression, anthracycline exposure, autoimmune disease) risk factors. Of the 205 cited articles, only 3 studies (1.6%) reported any female sex-specific cardiovascular risk factor in the data analysis or results sections. Oral contraceptive use (n = 1), menopausal status (n = 2) and hormone replacement therapy (n = 2) were the only female sex-specific cardiovascular risk factors reported. No other female sex-specific or -predominant cardiovascular risk factor was reported by any of the eligible studies. Our work highlights that in addition to the need for proportional representation of women in heart failure clinical studies, inclusion of female sex-specific and -predominant risk factors in data collection and analysis is of paramount importance to guide heart failure care in the female population.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • American Heart Association
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology