Women's health: making cardiovascular disease real

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Purpose of reviewWhen patients are seen for persistent chest pain in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease, the physician must decide if the symptoms are due to myocardial ischemia in order to guide treatment.Recent findingsRecent findings indicate that ischemia due to coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) is associated with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis and an adverse prognosis. Therapeutic probe trials suggest that antiatherosclerotic and anti-ischemic therapeutic strategies may be useful. A large randomized clinical trial of high-intensity statin, maximally tolerated angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker and low-dose aspirin (WARRIOR NCT#03417388) is in progress.SummaryThe diagnosis of CMD should be considered in patients with persistent angina, evidence of myocardial ischemia and normal coronary angiogram. Because of the associated adverse prognosis of CMD , conservative empiric treatment or further diagnostic evaluation of the coronary microvasculature can be performed. Diagnosis involves the measurement of coronary blood blow in response to a vasodilator agent invasively or noninvasively. Treatment of CMD can include the use of traditional antianginal and antiatherosclerotic medications. Clinical trials are needed to assess therapeutic strategies on the outcomes of cardiovascular disease and quality of life, in order to develop evidence-based guidelines.

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