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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.
Once a patient enters the program, she is assigned a health care team 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:
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. Courtney's care team coached her through two pregnancies, ensuring that she remained healthy and also delivered two healthy babies. Watch video
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:
If these initial tests show that a patient is at risk, physicians might schedule further testing. Additional tests include:
Specialists also perform cardiac catheterization. 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.
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.
Our specialists engage in advocacy efforts to prevent heart disease in women. Several of these efforts include:
Malissa Wood, MD, 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.
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.
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:
Learn more about pregnancy's effect on the heart. To make an appointment, patients can request an appointment online or call 866-644-8910.
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 (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 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 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.
Cardiomyopathy is any disease of the heart muscle in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively.
Congenital heart defects occur when the heart or related blood vessels do not develop properly before or at birth.
Coronary heart disease occurs when cholesterol builds up within the walls of the heart’s arteries (coronary arteries), forming what is called plaque.
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, 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 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.
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).
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 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 increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac (membrane) that surrounds the heart.
Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which permanent damage to heart valves is caused by rheumatic fever.
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 is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough, or to properly use, insulin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cardiac nurses at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center offer support and guidance during a family member's open-heart surgery or transplantation.
Karen Sauer is a musician who enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and gardening. Though she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2007, she manages it with medication and exercise. But in February 2018, Karen experienced a different medical event—a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, also known as a SCAD.
Maja Milosavljevic was just 25 years old when she experienced a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, also known as a SCAD. SCAD is an emergency condition that occurs when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart.
Nicole Reardon, a mother, wife and passionate special education teacher, was just 29 years old when she experienced a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, also known as a SCAD. SCAD is an emergency condition that occurs when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart.
When Tanisha Torres first visited MGH Cardiology in 2009, she was armed with a long list of handwritten questions. Though Torres jokes it was due in part to “only child syndrome,” she knows those questions stemmed from years of confusion about how best to treat her heart condition.
In this Q&A, Amy Sarma, MD, a cardiology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, shares insights into the causes and symptoms of a silent heart attack and what you can do to help prevent it from happening.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Misconceptions have created a gender gap in treatment of women with cardiovascular disease
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.
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.
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.
Elizabeth Anne and Karen Barlow Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program
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 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.
Malissa Wood, MD, answers some commonly asked questions about Spontaneous Coronary Artery Disease, or SCAD.
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