Imaging of heart disease in women: review and case presentation

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2022 Dec;50(1):130-159. doi: 10.1007/s00259-022-05914-6. Epub 2022 Aug 17.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Although major diagnostic and therapeutic advances have significantly improved the prognosis of patients with CVD in the past decades, these advances have less benefited women than age-matched men. Noninvasive cardiac imaging plays a key role in the diagnosis of CVD. Despite shared imaging features and strategies between both sexes, there are critical sex disparities that warrant careful consideration, related to the selection of the most suited imaging techniques, to technical limitations, and to specific diseases that are overrepresented in the female population. Taking these sex disparities into consideration holds promise to improve management and alleviate the burden of CVD in women. In this review, we summarize the specific features of cardiac imaging in four of the most common presentations of CVD in the female population including coronary artery disease, heart failure, pregnancy complications, and heart disease in oncology, thereby highlighting contemporary strengths and limitations. We further propose diagnostic algorithms tailored to women that might help in selecting the most appropriate imaging modality.

Keywords: CCTA; CMR; Gender; Noninvasive imaging; PET; SPECT; Sex.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Imaging Techniques
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors