As an initial project, the CWHHA undertook an environmental scan of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women in Canada from which a scientific statement could be developed to summarize critical sex- and gender-specific issues in CVD. This comprehensive review of the evidence focused on the sex- and gender-specific differences in comorbidity, risk factors, disease awareness, presentation, diagnosis, and treatment across the entire spectrum of CVD.
In the process of creating the review, it was recognized that an expansive collection of original research articles had been assembled. These were then synthesized into detailed chapters reporting on the present state of the evidence unique to cardiovascular conditions in women. This work comprises an “ATLAS” on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of CVD in women.
The need for a dedicated compilation of articles addressing the state of the science of women’s CV health in Canada is clear and heretofore unmet. The ATLAS, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology Open (CJC Open), aims to fill this void and begins with the present installment that provides a critical appraisal of the currently inadequate evidence base to support female-specific clinical guidelines and recommendations for CVD in Canada, and the recognition of intent to correct this issue.
This will be followed by a series of chapters examining in detail the fundamental issues regarding CV health and disease in Canadian women, including an assessment of the burden of CVD on women in Canada, a statement on “the patient’s perspective” written by women with lived experiences of CVD, and an examination of the sex- and gender-specific differences in comorbidity, risk factors, and a lack of awareness on the part of women and their healthcare providers.
The final chapters will include a discussion of future directions and the action needed on multiple fronts to achieve sex- and gender- equity for women’s CV health to correct the glaring “unders” of CVD for women in Canada: under-awareness, under-diagnosis, under-treatment, under-researched, and under-supported.
Once all chapters have been published in the CJC Open, the ATLAS will be a living document that can be refreshed annually as the evidence base grows and can provide a ready resource and reference for the development of clinical practice guidelines and synthesis of state-of-the-art knowledge in women’s cardiovascular health and disease.
Most important, it is our intention that the ATLAS will help clinicians and members of the public recognize the unique aspects of women’s heart health and disease while at the same time provide policy makers with information they need to ensure equitable care for women at risk for, and/or manifesting, cardiovascular disease.