Could You Have Hidden Heart Disease? Dr. Farzan Filsoufi Advises Women to Beware

Oct 26, 2012, 14:37 ET from Dr. Farzan Filsoufi

Hard-to-spot Form of Heart Disease Called Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction (MVD)

NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- New research shows that many women have undiagnosed heart disease even after getting tested for it—3 million women in the United States have a hard-to-spot form of heart disease called coronary microvascular dysfunction (MVD) that isn't detected by standard diagnostic tests.

Dr. Farzan Filsoufi, leading cardiothoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Medical Center advises, "Women who have an angiogram (which is designed to pick up blockages in large arteries) is likely to show their arteries to be normal. If you receive a 'normal' angiogram but still have other heart symptoms, ask your doctor whether you might have a problem with your small arteries and request a functional vascular imaging test."

Studies have shown that women are more likely than men to have coronary MVD and autopsy studies support this approach.  They show that women who die of heart attacks often have pathology different from that of men.  In women, plaque is more likely to be deposited uniformly around the inside of the small vessels – the possible result of chronic inflammation. In men, plaque tends to build up in isolated accumulations.    

Many researchers think the inflammation associated with MVD heart disease is caused by a drop in estrogen levels.  Estrogen may decrease inflammation, so when too little is available, the risk of heart disease may rise, especially in premenopausal or menopausal women.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.  According to the American Heart Association, almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms.

Women need to know that certain seemingly unrelated symptoms – unexplained fatigue, depression, shortness of breath – could be preludes to a serious cardiac event. 

Dr. Filsoufi strongly advises, "Even if you're not sure you're having a heart attack, act quickly—call 911 immediately. Hospitals have clot-busting medicines and other artery-opening procedures that can stop a heart attack.  These treatments work best when given within the first hour after a heart attack starts."

About Dr. Farzan Filsoufi

Dr. Farzan Filsoufi is a high-volume cardiothoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Medical Center with excellent surgical outcomes which are published annually by NY State Department of Health.  During the last decade, his overall mortality in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and valve surgery is 1%; in CABG and reoperative CABG is 0.7%; in primary or re-operative aortic valve replacement is 0.5%.  Dr. Filsoufi is a co-author with Drs. Carpentier and Adams of the textbook, "Carpentier's Reconstructive Valve Surgery," published in 2010.  He is co-editor with Dr. Carpentier of the textbook, "Perioperative Care in Cardiac Surgery," which will be published in 2013. Drs. Filsoufi and Carpentier launched an educational website on valvular heart disease with an emphasis on mitral valve pathology, the editorial board is comprised of internationally recognized cardiovascular medicine physicians including Drs. Starr and Carpentier.

SOURCE Dr. Farzan Filsoufi