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Two NSLHD experts join global panel to beat heart disease

Two of NSLHD’s leading cardiovascular experts have been appointed to a prestigious world expert panel to reduce rates of cardiovascular disease in women.

Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) interventional cardiologist and Kolling Institute researcher, Professor Gemma Figtree, and RNSH senior hospital scientist and Kolling Institute researcher, Dr Anastasia Mihailidou, have been appointed commissioners of The Lancet women and cardiovascular disease Commission.

The pair joins the all-female panel of 17 experts who are calling for urgent action on cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women in a report which was released recently.

Both Gemma and Anastasia were invited to join the commission, along with 15 other leading female CVD experts to provide recommendations on how to reduce the burden of the disease – which is the leading cause of death among women.

“The Commission Report released in The Lancet (publication) is the result of three years of work to collect and collate the different sources of data and research as well as numerous regional parallel efforts underway to provide recommendations to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular disease in women by 2030,” Anastasia said.

It provides the starting point for a global strategy for call to action to mobilise and energise the many key stakeholders, health-care professionals, policy makers, and women themselves for a healthier future.
Dr Anastasia Mihailidou


“The Commission will continue to observe trends, evaluate the effect of current recommendations, and suggest actionable key initiatives to combat cardiovascular disease in women during the next decade.”

The Commission aims to help reduce the global burden of cardiovascular conditions – including heart disease and stroke by 2030.  Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 35 per cent of deaths in women each year.

High blood pressure is the greatest risk factor contributing to years of lost life from CVD in women, followed by high body mass index and high low density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol.

Gemma said while these well-established risk factors might affect women differently than men, there are sex-specific risk factors such as premature menopause and pregnancy related-disorders that must be more widely recognised and prioritised as part of treatment and prevention efforts worldwide.

“This report lays out the gaps and challenges, and identifies strategies required to begin to improve the health of women’s hearts around the world,” she said.

“The commissioners are committed to work with researchers from across the translational pipeline to unravel novel mechanisms, best prevention and treatment strategies, and to improve equitable access.”

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