Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program

Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program

The Elizabeth Anne and Karen Barlow Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center cares for women of all ages through prevention and early detection of heart disease.
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Call to request an appointment or referral 866-644-8910


The Elizabeth Anne and Karen Barlow Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital provides a unique clinical service – cardiac care designed specifically for women. Because there are differences in the way men and women present heart disease, it is important to have specialists fluent in diagnosing and treating female patients.

This dedicated clinic focuses on all aspects of cardiology, from preventive approaches to complex conditions such as spontaneous coronary artery dissection. Specialists meet with women of all adult ages to discuss their current condition or their risk for heart disease.

A Multidisciplinary Team

Once a patient enters the program, she is assigned a health care team that includes a cardiologist, nurse and nutritionist to help make necessary lifestyle changes to lower her cardiovascular risks and stay healthy. Should a patient need surgery, a cardiac surgeon also becomes part of the team.

Specialists guide patients every step of the way to ensure they receive the best possible care. Patients are also directed to wellness programs both on-site and within their own communities. Such programs include:

  • Nutrition counseling
  • One-on-one exercise sessions
  • Stress management and relaxation training
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Other specialized cardiac programs within the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center

Tests and Procedures

At the first visit to the Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program, physicians ask patients questions about their personal and family medical history. Specialists then assess basic risk factors by checking:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood sugar
  • Framingham risk assessment for women
  • Body mass index (BMI)

If these initial tests show that a patient is at risk, physicians might schedule further testing. Additional tests include:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test is an electrical tracing of the heart rhythm. Specialists perform an EKG to determine whether or not there is any evidence of a rhythm disturbance or prior heart attack
  • Exercise electrocardiogram:This test evaluates how a woman's heart responds to the increased demands of exercise. It gives information about level of fitness and is a good screening test for coronary artery disease. This can be done alone or paired with an imaging test such as nuclear scanning or echocardiography
  • Echocardiograms:An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart and provides a great deal of information about the function of the heart muscle and valves. It can show whether or not an individual has had a prior heart attack or heart changes caused by high blood pressure
  • Cardiac CT: This test examines the coronary arteries and provides information about the calcium content of the coronary arteries and whether or not significant blockages are present in the arteries

Specialists also perform cardiac catheterization with coronary angiography. This test examines possible coronary artery blockages and provides valuable information about pressures within the heart. If a coronary artery blockage is identified, treatment with a coronary stent (a tube that holds the artery open) can be performed at the same time.

About this Program

Since February of 2007, the Elizabeth Anne and Karen Barlow Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program has addressed heart disease in women. This unique program has a close relationship with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, an initiative that encourages awareness and action among women in the fight against heart disease.

Advocates for Preventing Heart Disease

Our specialists engage in advocacy efforts to prevent heart disease in women. Several of these efforts include:

  • Educating women and health care providers about heart disease in women and improving women's heart health
  • Promoting research to benefit women with cardiovascular disease
  • Identifying gender-based disparities in cardiovascular care and using these findings to improve outcomes for women with heart disease

Malissa Wood, MD, recently launched the HAPPY Heart program to improve the heart health of women served by the Mass General Hospital Revere and Chelsea HealthCare Centers. In an effort to reduce heart disease in low-income women, the program includes screenings and aggressive primary prevention techniques, such as exercise, smoking cessation and stress reduction.

Access to Advanced Treatments

Specialists at the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program focus on all aspects of heart care from prevention to early detection and treatment. Our patients have access to the most advanced diagnostics and treatments available throughout the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center.

Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Service

Cardiologists specializing in women's heart health, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy and performance athletes work closely with our maternal-fetal medicine specialists and anesthesiologists to guide patients through planning, pregnancy and delivery.

Our doctors and staff provide individualized care and treatment plans for patients before, during and after pregnancy including:

  • Patients with pre-existing heart conditions or disease
  • Patients without history of heart disease who develop heart-related conditions during pregnancy such as arrhythmias or heart failure
  • Patients who develop pregnancy-related conditions that may increase risk of heart disease later in life including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and hypertension
  • Patients who wish to continue advanced exercise training during pregnancy

Learn more about pregnancy's effect on the heart. To make an appointment, patients can request an appointment online or call 866-644-8910.

Conditions & Diseases

The care team at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center encourages all patients and family members to learn more about conditions and diseases that affect the heart and overall cardiovascular system. The links below provide more information about heart conditions and diseases that might be treated within this program.

  • Angina Pectoris

    Angina pectoris (or simply angina) is recurring chest pain or discomfort that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen.

  • Arrhythmias

    Arrhythmias are heart rhythm disorders that may originate in the atria (the receiving chambers of the heart) or the ventricles (the pumping chambers of the heart).

  • Atrial Fibrillation

    Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where the electrical signals in the atria (the two small chambers of the heart) are fired in a very fast and uncontrolled manner.

  • Cardiac Sarcoma

    Cardiac sarcoma is a type of tumor that occurs in the heart. Cardiac sarcoma is a primary malignant (cancerous) tumor.

  • Cardiomyopathy

    Cardiomyopathy is any disease of the heart muscle in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively.

  • Congenital Heart Defects

    Congenital heart defects occur when the heart or related blood vessels do not develop properly before or at birth.

  • Coronary Heart Disease

    Coronary heart disease occurs when cholesterol builds up within the walls of the heart’s arteries (coronary arteries), forming what is called plaque.

  • Heart Attack

    A heart attack occurs when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

  • Heart Failure

    Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs.

  • Heart Murmur

    Heart murmurs are additional sounds made by blood flowing through the heart as it beats. Many murmurs are harmless (innocent), but some abnormal murmurs might signal a heart problem.

  • Heart Valve Diseases

    The heart’s valves can have one of two malfunctions - regurgitation (when the valve does not completely close) or stenosis (a narrowing of the valve).

  • High Blood Pressure / Hypertension

    Blood pressure, measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by a nurse or other health care provider, is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls.

  • Metabolic Syndrome

    Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes the presence of a cluster of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke.

  • Obesity

    Obesity increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

  • Pericarditis

    Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac (membrane) that surrounds the heart.

  • Rheumatic Heart Disease

    Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which permanent damage to heart valves is caused by rheumatic fever.

  • Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

    A thoracic aortic aneurysm, also called TAA, is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the thoracic aorta (the largest artery in the body), resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning.

  • Type 2 Diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough, or to properly use, insulin.

Patient Education

Mass General is dedicated to ensuring that people understand their health care choices and have the necessary information to make decisions affecting their health and well being. The related support and wellness information listed below can play a role in treatment options.


  • Patient Guide to Cardiac Surgery (PDF)

    Learn what to expect before, during and after your surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center by downloading and printing our patient guide to cardiac surgery.

  • Understanding and Preparing for a Catheterization Procedure (PDF)

    As you prepare for your catheterization, Massachusetts General Hospital clinicians want you to feel as comfortable as possible. To help you understand what to expect during your visit, this booklet describes key steps of your catheterization procedure.

  • Frequently Asked Questions About Cardiac Anesthesia

    The Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center offers a patient guide to cardiac anesthesia. Our dedicated clinicians believe it is important for you to know what to expect before, during and after a cardiac anesthesia.

  • Visitor's Guide to Cardiac Surgery

    Cardiac nurses at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center offer support and guidance during a family member's open-heart surgery or transplantation.


  • What to know about SCAD - 2/5/2016, Mass General

    “Thin, fit and athletic.” It’s not a typical portrait of a heart attack patient – but it’s how Malissa Wood, MD, co-director of the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program, describes dozens of her female patients in the last two years.

  • Ask the expert: The myths and facts about women and heart disease - 2/4/2014, Mass General

    Malissa Wood, MD, co-director of the Elizabeth Anne and Karen Barlow Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital discusses the myths surrounding women and heart disease.

  • Top 5 Things Latinas Should Know About Heart Health - 5/22/2013, Mass General

    Maria Vivaldi, MD, director of education at the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program, discusses the five things latinas should know about heart health.

  • Las Cinco Cosas que las Latinas Deben Saber Sobre la Salud del Corazón - 5/22/2013, Mass General

    María Vivaldi, MD, directora de educación en el Programa de Salud Cardiovascular del Hospital General Massachusetts, Corrigan de la Mujer, habla de las cinco cosas que las mujeres latinas deberían saber sobre la salud del corazón.

  • Pregnancy and Heart Disease - 2/2/2012, Mass General

    February is American Heart Month, and the spotlight is on heart health. Throughout this month, we will be featuring articles including discussions with physicians in the Massachusetts General Heart Center to learn more about the topics surrounding heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women.

  • Heart disease in women: Dispelling the myths - 3/9/2009, Mass General

    Misconceptions have created a gender gap in treatment of women with cardiovascular disease

  • Heart Center celebrates Go Red - 2/11/2009, Mass General

    As advocates of the American Heart Association's Go Red movement, physicians and staff at the Heart Center offered tools and events to raise awareness of heart disease.

  • American Heart Association uncovers gender disparities in heart attack mortality - 12/23/2008, Mass General

    According to recent research done by the American Heart Association, there are vast disparities in the heart attack mortality rates between men and women.

  • An unlikely victim - 8/19/2008, Mass General

    Kim Farah has never battled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease. Yet she is a victim of heart disease.

  • Creating HAPPY hearts in Chelsea and Revere - 3/5/2008, Research

    In conjunction with the Mass General Hospital Community Health Associates Wellness Center, Malissa Wood, MD launched the HAPPY Heart program in to improve the heart health of women served by the Mass General Hospital Revere and Chelsea HealthCare Centers.

  • A healthy heart for all ages - 2/22/2008, Clinical

    Heart disease isn’t just for men anymore. Although many women don’t realize it, heart disease is in fact the number one killer of American women, more lethal than all forms of cancer combined.


Contact Us

Elizabeth Anne and Karen Barlow Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program

25 New Chardon Street55 Fruit Street and Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Handicapped Accessible
  • Phone: 866-644-8910


  • Malissa Wood, MD, explains how the symptoms of heart attack are different in women than in men

    Malissa Wood, MD, explains how the symptoms of heart attack are different in women than in men

    Malissa Wood, MD, Co-Director of the Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center describes the heart attack symptoms that are unique to women, and why treatment of heart disease should be gender-specific.

  • Courtney's Risk: Pregnancy and Heart Health

    Courtney's Risk: Pregnancy and Heart Health

    Courtney first came to Mass General at the age of 8 when she was diagnosed with bone cancer in her leg. Mass General treated and cured her as child, but the chemotherapies used put her at risk for a weakened heart. When Courtney wanted to start a family, she came back to Mass General and met with specialists who coached her through two pregnancies, ensuring that she remained healthy and also delivered two healthy babies.

Clinical Trials

Request an appointment Request a second opinion

Call to request an appointment or referral 866-644-8910

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