I am
Show me:
Show me:
Women and heart disease
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals.

Heart disease in women is largely underrecognised, underdiagnosed and underresearched, despite the fact that it is a leading cause of death in Australian women.

For over ten years, the Heart Foundation has worked to raise women’s awareness of heart disease and work with health professionals to improve heart health outcomes for women. 

The Women and Heart Disease Forum 

Our 2019 Women and Heart Disease Forum brought  together a range of multidisciplinary experts and women directly impacted by heart disease, to present findings and share experiences. 

The topics discussed included:

  • Heart disease in women – what does it look like and how is it different? 
  • Who are the populations of women at risk? 
  • Vascular conditions of pregnancy and their impact on heart health of mother and child 
  • Psychosocial issues and their impact on women’s heart health 
  • National action areas.  

Four priorities areas for action were identified:

  • Greater investment in Research
  • Implementation of evidence based practice
  • Greater Public awareness and education
  • Strategies to address equity issues associated with heart disease in women

The 2019 Women and Heart Diease Forum Report provides further detail.

Watch the forum recording


Pregnancy and heart disease 

Improving heart health for women who experience vascular conditions during pregnancy was a key focal area of the Women and Heart Disease Forum. Cardiovascular disease risk associated with pregnancy has until recent times been poorly acknowledged, researched and understood. 

Women with pre-eclampsia or gestational hypertension have a higher risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. 

Find out more about pregnancy and heart disease. 


Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection 

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) occurs when a split or separation suddenly develops between the layers of the wall of one of the blood vessels (artery) that provides blood flow to the heart. 

SCAD is rare but is increasingly identified as a cause of Acute Coronary Syndrome for women – most frequently with women with few or no cardiac risk factors.

Find out more about Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection


Women in cardiology  

Cardiology is the study of heart diseases and heart abnormalities. Cardiology is an area of medicine with low female representation, particularly in the subspecialties of interventional cardiology and electrophysiology. 

As a response, a number of women cardiology groups have formed around the world to provide mentorship, visible role models and foster opportunities for research collaboration. 

In Australia there are two notable groups:

  1. The NSW Hearts and Heels Female Cardiology Roundtable, and  
  2. The Victorian Women in Cardiology Group.  

The Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) has also established the Women in Cardiology Working Group. Visit the CSANZ website for more information.  

Women in Cardiology ESC Congress 2020

On the 1st September 2020  the NSW Hearts and Heels Cardiology Roundtable and the Victorian Women in Cardiology group held a digital networking event to replace real time networking  at the 2020 European Cardiology Congress meeting in Amsterdam.  

Facilitated by Dr Swati Mukherjee  from Cabrini hospital in Melbourne, Guest speakers included  Dr Pragya Rajan  Advanced Cardiac Imaging Fellow, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai , who presented a case study on Multimodality Cardiac Imaging for Management of a Cardiac Mass in the era of COVID 19.

Followed by a Presentation by Dr Cindy Grines President of  the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions and Chief Scientific Officer of Northside Hospital Cardiovascular Institute(NY). on Managing the ups and downs of a career in cardiology.   


Reports and statements 

Read more information about women and heart disease with these reports and statements:  

You might also be interested in

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

Heart Health Checks have been supported by Medicare since April 2019....

Acute Coronary Syndromes tools from the guidelines

Acute Coronary Syndromes tools from the guidelines

Assessment protocols and algorithm for health care professionals...

Heart failure - tools from the guidelines

Heart failure - tools from the guidelines

Discover a range of heart failure tools derived from the guidelines for the Prevention, Detection, and Management of Heart Failure in Australia 2018. ...

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

Information and resources for health care professionals....

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

Have you thought about what you are getting for your children this Father’s Day?...

Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) clinical guidelines

Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) clinical guidelines

Guidelines for acute coronary syndromes for clinical care of patients presenting with suspected or confirmed ACS....

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network is the Heart Foundation’s newsletter for health professionals delivered to your inbox once a month....

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

Ask the experts: caring for people with CVD during COVID-19...

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

WEBINAR | Absolute CVD risk assessment practical update

WEBINAR | Absolute CVD risk assessment practical update

A multidisciplinary panel of experts discuss the practical application of absolute CVD risk assessment through Heart Health Checks....

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

The Australian Guideline for Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease (2nd Edition)​....

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Atrial fibrillation clinical resources for healthcare professionals

Atrial fibrillation clinical resources for healthcare professionals

Clinical resources for healthcare professionals including algorithms and key practice points....

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Atrial fibrillation clinical guidelines

Atrial fibrillation clinical guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation...

Heart failure clinical resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Atrial fibrillation interactive tools from the guidelines

Atrial fibrillation interactive tools from the guidelines

Atrial fibrillation interactive tools from the guidelines

These tools and algorithms are for healthcare professionals and have been developed from the Australian Clinical Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Atrial Fibrillation 2018. ...

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

The prevalence of depression is high in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

Heart failure clinical resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Clinical resources for health care professionals to improve the management of patients with heart failure. ...

Heart failure clinical factsheets

Heart failure clinical factsheets

Information about the diagnosis, classification and pharmacological management of heart failure. ...

Heart failure clinical guidelines

Heart failure clinical guidelines

Guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of heart failure....

WEBINAR | Heart failure diagnosis and care

WEBINAR | Heart failure diagnosis and care

Improving diagnosis and care for heart failure patients....

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management resources for health professionals...

Pregnancy and heart disease

Pregnancy and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Clinical information and links to SCAD resources....

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Together, we can make heart disease history. Donate today to help fund ground-breaking heart research and keep families together this Christmas. ...

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Sign up now and discover delicious, easy to follow dinner recipes. Plus shopping lists, tips and other helpful information to make healthy eating easy. ...

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Like men, women can be diagnosed with a range of heart conditions....

Heart Safe Community

Heart Safe Community

Heart Safe Community

Heart Safe Community is a program that aims to increase a person’s chance of survival if they suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital. ...

Lessons learned: recovering from open heart surgery

Lessons learned: recovering from open heart surgery

Lessons learned: recovering from open heart surgery

After having five open heart surgeries between the ages of 13 and 41, Peter knows a thing or two about recovery....

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

Open heart surgery to treat damaged heart valves has improved Jan's overall health....

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

Join our volunteers and make a difference to the heart health of Australians....

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Toolkit provides health services with a targeted approach to addressing readmission rates and decreasing variation in care....

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Our Heart Maps allow you to take a closer look at heart disease indicators across Australia....

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Media Release - 26 June 2020...

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Your role as a carer for a heart attack patient is an important one – explore some useful things to know....

My health for life program

My health for life program

My health for life program

The Heart Foundation is a proud supporter of the Queensland My health for life program...

Heart failure resources for patients

Heart failure resources for patients

Educate your patients on everything they need to know about heart failure and managing their condition. ...

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

There are many medicines that treat heart attack, angina, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other heart conditions....

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Honour the life of a loved one with a donation to the Heart Foundation. Your donation offers hope for Australian hearts....

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Resources to help manage your grant, scholarship or fellowship....

Practice Nurse Survey 2020

Practice Nurse Survey 2020

This survey has been designed to collect feedback from practice nurses about their awareness and use of Heart Foundation materials....

Absolute CVD risk charts

Absolute CVD risk charts

Absolute CVD risk charts provide a visual tool to calculate CVD risk for use in practice in Australia....

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

The Heart Foundation delivers innovative, evidence-based programs and initiatives to support and prevent heart disease in Australia...

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Resources to help you create a more physically active workplace....

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

We value the support of all of our corporate partners....

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

All you need to know about keeping active during COVID-19....