NewsNewsPreventionInternational Women's Day 2024: the EHN & MEPs call for gender equity in cardiovascular research

International Women's Day 2024: the EHN & MEPs call for gender equity in cardiovascular research

08 Mar 2024

On International Women’s Day, the European Heart Network (EHN) affirms its commitment to advocating for gender equity in cardiovascular research.

On International Women’s Day, MEP Frances Fitzgerald (EPP, Ireland), MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) and MEP Estrella Durá Ferrandis (S&D, Spain) are joining our Network and calling on European Union’s policymakers to ensure that cardiovascular health for women is properly considered in all relevant European Union policies.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for women in the European Union and yet CVD in women is significantly understudied: clinical research on cardiovascular diseases is predominantly done on men and this has serious consequences for the diagnosis and treatment of CVD in women.

Gender inequity in cardiovascular research: CVD Facts

  • It is estimated that women make up only one-third of the total participants in CVD clinical trials. As a result, most guideline-directed therapies are based on data collected predominantly from male patients and scientific guidelines for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases do not generally provide specific recommendations for women.
  • The EuroHeart report highlights that only 50% of cardiovascular clinical trials report results divided by gender. This also occurred for studies which enrolled as many men as women.
  • According to the EuroHeart report, the reasons for lower enrolment of women in clinical trials are the lower occurrence of outcomes in women, a lower willingness of women to be enrolled due to their misperception of CVD risk, and difficulties in terms of transports or support for the follow-up visits.

How to address gender inequity in cardiovascular research

  • To address the underrepresentation of women in cardiovascular clinical trials, policymakers should ensure adequate funding to advance and promote gender-specific research on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
  • To support better-targeted care for women, policymakers must ensure that data reporting
    from cardiovascular clinical trials include results divided by gender.
  • To increase the proportion of women enrolled in cardiovascular clinical trials, the European Union (EU) should support the implementation of compulsory initiatives aimed at increasing women’s health literacy.

Check out EHN Members activities on International Women’s Day.

Read EHN Report Red Alert for Women’s Hearts Women and Cardiovascular Research in Europe.

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