First Annual Women’s Heart Health Sym.

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CO-CHAIR PHOEBE ASHLEY, MD, (LOWER RIGHT) LED ONE OF THE MANY PRESENTATIONS AT THE WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH SYMPOSIUM.

On February 6, as part of Heart Month activities, VCU Health Pauley Heart Center hosted a symposium on women’s heart health at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Following opening remarks by Cardiology Chair Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD, the event’s speakers—an all-female group of cardiologists and a cardiac surgeon from VCU—presented case studies, a panel on heart failure, and topics including heart disease prevention, eating disorders and the heart, stress tests, and atrial fibrillation.

About 60 guests, including many from the medical community, attended the event. “The audience members were very engaged throughout the morning and asked thoughtful, provocative questions,” says Jordana Kron, MD, who co-chaired the event with Phoebe Ashley, MD.

Among the findings, attendants learned that “women with cardiac disease have different symptoms than men, receive different treatments, and respond differently to many therapies,” she says.

For instance, some women experience understated symptoms when they are having a heart attack. Instead of the familiar gripping chest pain, they might feel nausea, pain or discomfort in their stomach, jaw, neck, or back, or shortness of breath. Such “silent” warning signs may be missed by the women or even their healthcare providers.

Over the years, women have also been underrepresented in cardiac research. As a result, “the complexities, subtleties, and nuances of women’s hearts and vasculature are just now burgeoning onto the cardiovascular scene,” says Ashley.

That’s one reason the co-chairs hope to draw even more healthcare providers to next year’s symposium.

Among the findings, attendants learned that “women with cardiac disease have different symptoms than men, receive different treatments, and respond differently to many therapies,” she says.

“We feel that exploring the differences between men’s and women’s cardiac disease and educating ourselves and our colleagues regarding these issues will be critical to providing state-of-the-art women’s cardiovascular care in our area,” she says.

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PHOEBE ASHLEY, MD & JORDAN KROM, MD

The VCU Health Pauley Heart Center is grateful to Ellen and Barry Chernack for their support of this event.

In addition to those mentioned in the article, the Heart Center also thanks speakers Hem Bhardwaj, MD, Bethany Denlinger, M.D. and Roshanak Markley, MD; roundtable contributors Mimi Peberdy, MD, Krishnasree Kasuganti Rao, MD, Melissa Smallfield, MD and Inna Tchoukina, MD; and moderator Patricia Nicolato, DO for their participation in the symposium.

Save the Date: The 2nd Women’s Heart Health Symposium will take place Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. Please contact [email protected] for more information.