Heart Center for Women
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in women. A woman’s chance of developing coronary heart disease increases dramatically after she goes through menopause (whether naturally or surgically) and with the use of hormonal therapies, such as birth control pills and hormonal replacement medications.
Women can experience different cardiac symptoms than men. Women also have poorer outcomes from their cardiovascular disease than men. For these reasons, women deserve an experienced and compassionate health care team with the expertise to address their unique needs and improve their outcomes. At the Rush Heart Center for Women — the first heart program in Chicago devoted exclusively to women — women with heart problems and those at risk for heart disease are diagnosed and treated by members of a team that includes cardiologists, nurse practitioner and registered dietitian. The center focuses on prevention of and early intervention for heart disease in women by helping patients make vital lifestyle changes that could help prevent future heart problems. As needed, patients and their families are referred to other health care professionals at who are sensitive to their specific needs.
Women We Treat | Diagnosis | Treatment | Clinical Team | Resources
Women We Treat
Patients include those with existing heart disease and those at risk for heart disease. Our team has expertise in treating women who have the following:
- Family history of heart and vascular disease, which is a risk factor for heart disease. This includes women with first-degree relatives (i.e., mother, father, sister, brother) who have or had heart disease.
- Heart attack. According to the American College of Cardiology, two-thirds of women who have a heart attack never completely recover, and those who do survive their heart attack are more likely to die during the first year than men who have a heart attack. That’s why it’s imperative that women get the proper medical attention following a heart attack.
- Heart and vascular disease, such as angina, coronary heart disease, irregular heart rhythms (e.g., arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation) and peripheral artery disease.
- Heart and vascular symptoms, such as chest pressure or pain, shortness of breath, leg pain that’s brought on by walking, and extreme fatigue.
- Risk for heart disease, including those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, gestational diabetes, poor lifestyle habits, high blood pressure during pregnancy and pre-eclampsia.
- Need for a second opinion regarding heart and vascular disease.
At the Rush Heart Center for Women, patients have access to virtually every diagnostic tool available, including the following:
- Advanced lipid testing and personalized medicine, which can identify risk factors of coronary heart disease that standard blood cholesterol tests do not address. Genotyping can also be utilized to further assess an individual’s risk.
- Assessment for microvascular disease, a condition in which the small arteries in the heart narrow. This problem is more common in women than in men and is often difficult to detect.
- Other diagnostic tests available at Rush, such as the following:
Physicians and nurses at Rush are involved in clinical trials evaluating new treatment options for patients with heart disease, including medications, devices, and minimally invasive procedures. By participating in clinical trials, the Rush Heart Center for Women is able to offer patients the latest advances in treatment before they are widely available. View a list of open clinical trials for heart disease.
- Charlotte Bai, MD, cardiologist
- Lynne T. Braun, PhD, CNP, FAHA, FAAN nurse practitioner
- Heather Rasmussen, PhD, RD, registered dietitian
- Melissa Tracy, MD, FACC, cardiologist
- Annabelle Volgman, MD, FACC, cardiologist
Patient and Family Resources
Quality of care
Rush University Medical Center has one primary goal: offering patients the highest possible quality of care. As part of this effort, we continually evaluate our care processes and clinical outcomes. See the resulting data and learn more about our quality measures.