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.