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Women's Heart Health and Effects on Pregnancy

In This Video

  • The Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program was launched 13 years ago to raise awareness of the differences in cardiovascular conditions for women versus men
  • The program has expanded over the past decade to build on the research and lack of awareness regarding women-specific cardiovascular conditions, especially with regard to their effects on pregnancy
  • Co-director of the program, Nandita Scott, MD, discusses the growth of the program and several new projects underway

The Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital was launched 13 years ago to raise awareness and expand on research regarding women-specific cardiovascular conditions. In this video, Nandita Scott, MD, co-director of the program, discusses its expansion and the innovative work accomplished over the past decade, particularly with regard to women's heart health and the effects on pregnancy.


Hello, my name is Nandita Scott and I am co-director of the Mass General Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program. The Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program was created 13 years ago at a time when we realize that women-specific cardiovascular issues were actually unique from their male counterparts. This program has grown over the decade to really expand and build on the lack of research, lack of awareness of women-specific cardiovascular conditions. We've also really grown to be more multidisciplinary including colleagues and cardiovascular genetics, vascular medicine, as well as obstetrics and gynecology.

The Cardiovascular Disease in Pregnancy Program was built under the umbrella of the Women's Heart Health Program. When we realized that maternal mortality in the United States is actually on the rise and we actually have the worst maternal mortality of any developed nation in the world, and cardiovascular conditions are a leading contributor to that mortality. So cardiologists really need to be part of that solution. Women with structural heart disease are now entering their pregnancy with pre-existing heart damage. So one of the benefits of being at Massachusetts General Hospital and building on this Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program is that we had access to brilliant minds and people with great ideas on how to improve care for women in our community.

We have many exciting research projects underway. One project which I'm particularly excited about is called the Hope Study and this is a multidisciplinary collaboration between Cardiology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. And basically what it's going to be is going to be a national pregnancy registry of which there are none to date. Massachusetts General Hospital is going to be the database for all the echo data and we're also working on collecting genetics data, so with this Hope Registry, we really hope to try to learn standardized protocols on how to manage patients, and also to better inform care and improve awareness across our country.

When we're talking about maternal mortality there actually are huge racial and ethnic disparities. Now that America has this racial awakening, I really do feel that in medicine we're having the same sort of awakening and we really need to address the disparities in communities that are potentially not getting as great access to care as certain communities that are having better outcomes. So our research will be focusing on these specific groups as well and by improving care for everybody we can help our community at large do better long-term.

The other program within the Women's Heart Health Program that we're very proud of is our Coronary Artery Dissection Program. So SCAD, or Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, is a type of heart attack or myocardial infarction that is unique to women and not well understood how to treat it or even how to manage it in the acute phase. So we have collaborated with our cardiovascular genetics colleagues, our vascular medicine colleagues, and our interventional colleagues on how to better manage the disease moving forward.

At the Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program we started off with a few clinicians 13 years ago, seeing women who were concerned about their risk of cardiovascular disease, and really over the next decade-plus, we've really built into a program with expertise on unique cardiovascular conditions such as coronary dissection, heart disease in pregnancy, and the future of our program is very bright.

Learn more about the Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program

Refer a patient to the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center


Anna C. O'Kelly, MD, MPhil, of the Department of Medicine, Nandita Scott and Doreen DeFaria Yeh, MD, of the Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program, and a colleague discuss the importance of coordinated cardio-obstetrics care for optimizing both maternal and fetal health.


Michael C. Honigberg, MD, MPP, and Pradeep Natarajan, MD, MMSc, of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues have linked premature menopause to increased odds of age-associated mutations in blood cells, a recently recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease.