International Women day: Prof. Karen Sliwa puts maternal health on the global scale

8 Mar 2019 - 13:45

When it comes to heart disease, women are still being left behind. Studies have shown that women are up to three times more likely to die following a serious heart attack than men as a result of receiving unequal care and treatment. Despite this, most people still associate heart disease and heart attacks with men, and treatment guidelines are primarily based on data collected from men.

Worldwide, while leading causes of maternal mortality are declining, maternal heart disease is increasing. In western countries, maternal heart disease is now the leading cause for maternal mortality and is likely to increase further due to the trend to delay motherhood until later life and the rise in medical co-morbidities, including diabetes, hypertension and obesity. In low-to-middle income countries, rheumatic heart disease, unoperated congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathies are the leading contributors.

As the first female President of the World Heart Federation, this is an issue that is close to my heart. WHF is committed to raising awareness of heart disease in women and helping more families avoid the heartbreak of losing a loved one to heart disease, and I encourage our members and partners to join us in taking this International Women's Day as an opportunity to think about how we can better empower and support women so they can lead more heart healthy lives!


Karen Sliwa, President, World Heart Federation