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Noninvasive Technologies for Diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease in Women

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Background: Prevalence and Burden of Coronary Artery Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in women in the United States. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), approximately one in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease. Of the various types of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease accounts for the majority of deaths. In its 2005 update, the AHA reported that over 240,000 women versus 250,000 men die from coronary heart disease annually. Coronary heart disease comprises atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD), angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort due to reduced blood supply to the heart muscle), myocardial infarction (MI), and acute coronary syndromes.

In the United States, an 8.1 million women have a history of MI, angina pectoris, or both. Experts have predicted that in 2010 alone, 370,000 women would have new or recurrent MI.

It is also estimated that more women (5.5 million) than men (4.3 million) in the United States have angina in total numbers. Among women older than 20 years of age, non-Hispanic black women have the highest incidence of angina (6.7%) when compared with non-Hispanic whites (4.3%) and Mexican Americans (4.5%).

CAD also results in substantial morbidity and disability in women in the United States. The 2005 AHA report estimated that coronary heart disease is prevalent in 5.9 million women (5.6 percent of the total population).