Women's Heart Services

Heart disease continues to be one of the most under-represented, under-treated and misdiagnosed health problems for women.

Heart disease often presents itself differently in women than in men – because it IS different in women. Often, women experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pressure, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, etc., do not have blockages in their main coronary arteries.

So, what’s going on?

What’s Really Happening

Although the main coronary arteries are clear, the small arteries are not. Microvascular dysfunction occurs when the small arteries of the heart become diseased. No longer working as they should, the arteries do not easily allow for blood flow during exertion. The diagnosis of microvascular dysfunction presents a challenge as it’s not easily detected by coronary angiography.

At Sentara RMH, however, coronary reactivity testing can be used in the catheterization lab to detect and diagnose this condition.

Screening Program

The Sentara RMH Heart and Vascular Center is committed to closing the gaps in early diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women within our community. Launching the Women’s Heart Program, led by cardiologist Brad Rash, MD, is a major step toward meeting that need.
Dr. Rash will hold office hours at the Sentara RMH Funkhouser Women’s Center.

During the appointment, patients will receive an EKG and complete history and physical. Further evaluation and testing will be recommended as needed. Indications for a consultation include:

  • Concern about risk factors and would like a further estimate of risk
  • Concerning symptoms despite negative diagnostic tests
  • Risk factors and a history of pre-eclampsia

Physician referral not necessary. To schedule an appointment, call Sentara RMH Evelyn Byrd Health Center, home of the cardiology practice, at 540-564-5800.