Adverse health conditions and death from pregnancy and delivery are more common in the United States than in other developed countries, with women of color two to four times more likely than white women to die from a pregnancy complication. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of pregnancy-related death, and an increasing number of young American women have one or more cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, sleep apnea, or high blood pressure. Moreover, blood pressure elevation occurs earlier in life and progresses more rapidly in women, compared with men. For these reasons, we need to address maternal morbidity and mortality throughout a woman’s life, not just during her reproductive years.
The NHLBI supports studies that aim to understand the impact of sex as a biological variable and to improve women’s heart health across the lifespan.
New cardiac imaging tools and technologies are enabling clinicians to more rapidly diagnose and treat patients with a number of heart disorders.
The NHLBI is working to improve outcomes for those living with heart failure (HF). In HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), which accounts for about 50 percent of all HF cases but for which there are limited treatment options, the heart contracts normally but fills with blood too slowly. HeartShare is a new initiative to conduct large-scale analysis of clinical, laboratory, and imaging data from patients with HFpEF to characterize mechanisms of disease and identify potential therapeutic targets. Read the funding opportunity announcement for researchers.