Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center


Treating Her Heart

The facts are startling

  • More than 500,000 women die each year in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease—more than all cancers combined.
  • At least 40 percent of women do not survive their first heart attack.
  • Since 1984, more women have died annually from cardiovascular disease than men.

Despite evidence that women’s heart disease symptoms differ from men’s, diagnosis continues to be based on research conducted largely with male subjects.

Understanding the difference

Heart disease in women is often very different from heart disease in men. The Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center is devising innovative solutions to address this difference while bringing research-driven cardiac care to over 1,700 women each year.

For men, the “classic” heart attack is chest pain associated with exertion. Women are more likely to experience chest pressure, indigestion, shortness of breath, and fatigue. For men, heart disease is most commonly due to a blocked coronary artery. In women, heart disease is often caused by reduced blood flow in the heart’s small arteries—a condition called microvascular coronary dysfunction.

The best diagnostic tools

Inspired by these distinctions, the Center is creating new treatment strategies and comprehensive risk assessments.

Commitment to innovation

Cedars-Sinai is one of the few medical centers worldwide to employ an adenosine cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) stress test in diagnosing heart disease. This tool is superior to an angiogram (the standard for male diagnosis) in revealing women’s microvascular coronary dysfunction.

This innovation is only one example of our dedication to turning back years of gender inequality in medicine.