Guidelines on the use of sex and gender in cardiovascular research

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2024 Jan 1;326(1):H238-H255. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00535.2023. Epub 2023 Nov 24.


In cardiovascular research, sex and gender have not typically been considered in research design and reporting until recently. This has resulted in clinical research findings from which not only all women, but also gender-diverse individuals have been excluded. The resulting dearth of data has led to a lack of sex- and gender-specific clinical guidelines and raises serious questions about evidence-based care. Basic research has also excluded considerations of sex. Including sex and/or gender as research variables not only has the potential to improve the health of society overall now, but it also provides a foundation of knowledge on which to build future advances. The goal of this guidelines article is to provide advice on best practices to include sex and gender considerations in study design, as well as data collection, analysis, and interpretation to optimally establish rigor and reproducibility needed to inform clinical decision-making and improve outcomes. In cardiovascular physiology, incorporating sex and gender is a necessary component when optimally designing and executing research plans. The guidelines serve as the first guidance on how to include sex and gender in cardiovascular research. We provide here a beginning path toward achieving this goal and improve the ability of the research community to interpret results through a sex and gender lens to enable comparison across studies and laboratories, resulting in better health for all.

Keywords: cardiac; gender diversity; rigor and reproducibility; vascular.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Cardiology*
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics*