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University Researchers to Study Gender Disparities in Heart Disease Diagnosis

Scientists at Yale University are collaborating with the Women’s Health Research at Yale to lead a pilot clinical study on improving heart disease diagnoses for women, with the goal of highlighting the effectiveness of additional diagnostic procedures rather than simply relying on the existing standard of care. This study is a part of the larger Women’s Health Research project which will examine gender disparities in cardiovascular health and is funded by a $50,000 grant awarded through the 2021 Wend U. and Thomas C. Naratil Pioneer Award to the principal investigator, Samit Shah. Shah is an interventional cardiologist and an assistant professor of medicine. The research team is currently enrolling 100 female participants to examine and document their experiences with cardiovascular treatment at the Yale New Haven Health System over the next two years.

This study is sorely needed as the procedures that are used to diagnose cardiovascular issues in men aren’t as effective for diagnosing women, leading to women being misdiagnosed. The study also includes interviews to qualitatively examine patients’ symptoms, emotions, medication, and lifestyle changes during the two years of clinical study and testing. The cohort of research participants were divided into a control group and an experimental group, with the control group given the current standard of care and the experimental group given that plus additional procedures to supplement catheterization (a method of diagnosis for cardiovascular issues). To ensure that this process is inclusive, a chart review will be done to examine everyone’s demographic factors, such as ethnicity and zip code.

According to Leslie Tseng, a Yale medical student who received a scholarship to work on this project, the interviews with the research participants will provide greater understanding of the individual benefits of more accurate diagnoses, leading to an improved quality of life. The researchers are also aiming to use this data to justify why additional medical procedures should be made the standard of care in medical institutions throughout the country.

Samit Shah, Principal Investigator

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