Portland, Oregon metro area study finds sudden cardiac death as first sign of heart disease in women

A recent study showed that women who experienced sudden cardiac arrest often had no diagnosis of heart disease before their deaths, unlike men who were more often aware of their cardiovascular health status.

The finding comes from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, which assessed sudden cardiac deaths (SCD) in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area from 2004 to 2016.

Researchers split the data over three 4-year time periods. Despite seeing increased rates in both sexes between 2008-2011 and 2012-2015, 2012-2016, researchers found 58% of women with SCD as the first sign of heart disease compared to only 55% of men in the analysis.

The study, published in the Go Red for Women issue of the journal Circulation, sheds light on the need for better identification of cardiovascular disease risk in women. The study was funded by NHLBI.