‘Cardiovascular disease (CV) in women’ is the most important cause of mortality and morbidity in the Western world.  However, as CV disease has often been interpreted as a men’s disease and research results mainly have consisted of data from men, there is lack of knowledge on heart disease in women.

 Therefore, it is the second topic on the research agenda of the Dutch Heart Foundation (DHF), and an important pillar of The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (Gender and Health). In recent years, effort has been made to integrate the theme of sex and gender differences in CV research in most research areas. Also, the dedicated consortia CREW and Queen of Hearts have been raised, supported by the DHF, to address women-specific issues with respect to CVD, including migraine (which appeared a major CV risk factor in young women), pre-eclampsia (and vascular complications during pregnancy) and venous thrombosis (in relation with the use of anticonceptives). However, important issues for women and society remain for which we propose a working group. The working group will focus on 2 important topics that warrant attention.  The first is on women with symptoms and signs of ischemia (persistent chest pain) but without obstructive coronary artery disease (including NOCAD and HFpEF). The second is on women with accelerated atherosclerosis development in relation to high (female-specific) risk factor burden. The working group will bring together the leading (inter)national researchers and cardiologists on these topics to exchange information, build international networks, write grant proposals and find alternative sources for research funding. 

Hester den Ruijter, associate professor experimental cardiology, UMC Utrecht

Yolande Appelman, interventional cardiologist, Amsterdam UMC

Proposed activities: 
Communication: Design and execute campaigns on heart disease in women in collaboration with supporting networks to increase awareness and raise funding. 

Lobbying: National and international lobby for new research projects/sex and gender stratification in CVD research. 

Research funding:  Apply for national, EU and international grant applications.

Ongoing research projects related to the topic in the Netherlands:
Queen of Hearts (2013), CREW (2013), CVON ARGUS (2017), CVON AI (2018), ERA-CVD ENDLESS (2018), Abbott (battle of the cardiac troponins 2018), CVON EARLY HFpEF, CVON SHE PREDICTS, MICORDIS 

Supporting network outside academia:
On individual title: Neelie Kroes (former EU ambassador), Sylvia Tóth (former director Content), Marianne Verhaar (ABN AMRO), Annemiek Hoogenboom (Postcode Loterij) 

Organisations and companies: Women Inc., Medis, Abbott, Eli Lilly, SkylineDX

Preliminary list of members:
follows soon

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