Sex-Specific Differences in Heart Failure: Pathophysiology, Risk Factors, Management, and Outcomes Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of hospitalisation, morbidity, and mortality in Canada. There are sex-specific differences in the etiology, epidemiology, comorbidities, treatment response, and treatment adverse effects that have implications on outcomes in HF. Sex-specific analyses of some HF trials indicate that optimal doses of drug therapies and benefit of device therapies may differ between male and female patients, but the trials were not designed to test sex differences. The under-representation of female participants in HF randomised controlled trials (RCTs) is a major limitation in assessing the sex-specific efficacy and safety of treatments. To ensure that female patients receive safe and effective HF therapies, RCTs should include participants proportionate to the sex-specific distribution of disease. This review outlines the sex-specific differences in HF phenotype and treatment response, and highlights disparities in services and gaps in knowledge that merit further investigation.


  • Sullivan, Kristen
  • Doumouras, Barbara S
  • Santema, Bernadet T
  • Walsh, Mary Norine
  • Douglas, Pamela S
  • Voors, Adriaan A
  • Van Spall, Harriette

publication date

  • April 2021

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