Sex and Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Studies

Marijana Tadic, Cesare Cuspidi, Sven Plein, Evgeny Belyavskiy, Frank Heinzel, Maurizio Galderisi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) represents the most frequent form of heart failure in women, with almost two-fold higher prevalence than in men. Studies have revealed sex-specific HFpEF pathophysiology, and suggested the possibility of a sex-specific therapeutic approach in these patients. Some cardiovascular risk factors, such as arterial hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, and race, show specific features that might be responsible for the development of HFpEF in women. These risk factors are related to specific cardiovascular changes-left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and hypertrophy, ventricular-vascular coupling, and impaired functional capacity-that are related to specific cardiac phenotype and HFpEF development. However, there is no agreement regarding outcomes in women with HFpEF. For HFpEF, most studies have found higher hospitalization rates for women than for men. Mortality rates are usually not different. Pharmacological treatment in HFpEF is challenging, along with many unresolved issues and questions raised. Available data on medical therapy in patients with HFpEF show no difference in outcomes between the sexes. Further investigations are necessary to better understand the pathophysiology and mechanisms of HFpEF, as well as to improve and eventually develop sex-specific therapy for HFpEF.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 4 2019


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