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Third Annual Go Red for Women Issue

Originally published 2019;139:999–1000

    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in women, globally claiming the lives of millions each year. According to American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control statistics, in the United States, the number of women who die each year of CVD is similar to that of men.1,2 Despite the declining trends in CVD, women with CVD continue to experience disproportionately higher mortality than men.1,2 In addition, sex disparities in cardiovascular care have been reported in relation to many established, evidence-based interventions and treatments that almost always show that women are disadvantaged.3,4 It is therefore disheartening that many still believe the myth that CVD is only a concern for men, and only 54% of women recognize that CVD is their number one killer.5 So, there is a substantial amount of work that needs to be done to better understand differences in CVD presentation and course among women and men, to implement effective approaches to educating patients, clinicians, and the general public about CVD and its impact on the health of women and men, to develop tools that can address sex disparities in cardiovascular care, and to propose strategies to engage all relevant stakeholders in the fight against CVD in women.

    Recognizing the importance of understanding and addressing CVD in women, Circulation devotes a full issue to this topic annually. The current issue is the third Go Red for Women issue, tackling a wide spectrum of topics related to CVD in women including prevention, risk stratification, myocardial infarction, pregnancy, heart failure, cardiac arrest, and sudden cardiac death. Specifically, one paper explores long-term trends and sex differences in young patients presenting with an acute myocardial infarction; another paper examines sex differences in the prevalence of and temporal changes in cardiovascular risk factors and their treatment; another paper assesses the association between sedentary behavior and CVD risk in older women; and another paper studies CVD-related morbidity and mortality in women with a prior pregnancy complication. One article provides insight into the public’s perceptions of why women receive less bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation than men in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and another paper investigates autopsy findings and electrocardiographic risk markers related to sudden cardiac death in women. We are also publishing state-of-the-art papers on cardiovascular care in women veterans and the management of CVD in women with breast cancer. The issue includes 2 in-depth reviews, one on sex differences in advanced heart failure therapies and a second on the role of breast arterial calcification in cardiovascular risk stratification in women. There is a research letter on the size of thoracic aortic aneurysms in women and a second letter on the participation of women authors in contemporary cardiology manuscripts with female corresponding authors. Three Frame of Reference papers provide unique perspectives on the high risk of CVD among young black women, the underwhelming rate of change related to women in cardiology, and the contributions of women leaders to the growth of the discipline of cardiac transplantation.

    We hope that by highlighting some of the best research on CVD in women, this issue will ignite more interest in and greater commitment to conducting transformative research in this area and propel relevant stakeholders to team up in the fight against CVD in women.


    The online-only podcast and transcript are available with this article at

    Joseph A. Hill, MD, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology Division, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 6000 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390–8573. Email


    • 1. Benjamin EJ, Virani SS, Callaway CW, Chamberlain AM, Chang AR, Cheng S, Chiuve SE, Cushman M, Delling FN, Deo R, de Ferranti SD, Ferguson JF, Fornage M, Gillespie C, Isasi CR, Jiménez MC, Jordan LC, Judd SE, Lackland D, Lichtman JH, Lisabeth L, Liu S, Longenecker CT, Lutsey PL, Mackey JS, Matchar DB, Matsushita K, Mussolino ME, Nasir K, O’Flaherty M, Palaniappan LP, Pandey A, Pandey DK, Reeves MJ, Ritchey MD, Rodriguez CJ, Roth GA, Rosamond WD, Sampson UKA, Satou GM, Shah SH, Spartano NL, Tirschwell DL, Tsao CW, Voeks JH, Willey JZ, Wilkins JT, Wu JH, Alger HM, Wong SS, Muntner P; American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2018 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association.Circulation. 2018; 137:e67–e492. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000558LinkGoogle Scholar
    • 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet. Accessed January 11, 2019.Google Scholar
    • 3. Shaw LJ, Pepine CJ, Xie J, Mehta PK, Morris AA, Dickert NW, Ferdinand KC, Gulati M, Reynolds H, Hayes SN, Itchhaporia D, Mieres JH, Ofili E, Wenger NK, Bairey Merz CN. Quality and Equitable Health Care Gaps for Women: Attributions to Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Medicine.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017; 70:373–388. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.051CrossrefMedlineGoogle Scholar
    • 4. Al-Khatib SM, Hellkamp A, Hernandez AF, Fonarow GC, Thomas KL, Al-Khalidi HR, Heidenreich PA, Hammill S, Yancy C, Peterson ED. Trends in use of implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy among patients hospitalized for heart failure: have the previously observed sex and racial disparities changed over time?Circulation. 2012; 125:1094–1101.LinkGoogle Scholar
    • 5. Mosca L, Mochari-Greenberger H, Dolor RJ, Newby LK, Robb KJ. Twelve-year follow-up of American women’s awareness of cardiovascular disease risk and barriers to heart health.Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2010; 3:120–127. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.109.915538LinkGoogle Scholar


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