Your heartHealthy livingFor professionalsResearchHow you can helpAbout us

Professor Susan Davis

Research directory


Professor Susan Davis

Prevention of heart failure in women, the ETHEL Study

Professor Susan Davis, Monash University

2022 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2023-2024

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is when the left heart chamber does not fully fill between contractions so that the volume of blood available to be pumped out is insufficient for what the body needs. There is no treatment to prevent progression from asymptomatic to symptomatic HFpEF, with exercise intolerance being the main initial symptom.

HFpEF is 3-times more common in women than in men and, versus the preceding years, HFpEF increases 4-fold in women aged 55-64 years when their blood testosterone concentrations are at their lowest. Testosterone improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure in postmenopausal (PM) women; effects that may improve exercise capacity in women with early HFpEF.

We hypothesise testosterone therapy may prevent asymptomatic women progressing to symptomatic HFpEF. To test this we will conduct a clinical trial of testosterone therapy in PM women with early heart failure to determine the effects of testosterone on exercise capacity, cardiac function and quality of life.

Last updated17 January 2023