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Women's Heart Health

Grandmother, child and grandchild sitting on a dock

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, though most women aren't aware of it. A major problem is that women often aren't diagnosed until they've had a major event because women often delay seeking treatment. Also, the symptoms they experience aren't the same as the crushing chest pain many men have while having a heart attack.

The Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Women’s Heart Health Program addresses the unique cardiac needs of women with a specially tailored program. It’s a unique, comprehensive approach that provides individualized heart care for women by women physicians, nurses and staff.

If you are a current patient and have questions, contact Denise Sparks, RN, at denise.sparks@uky.edu or 859-218-6713.

Patient appointments

Request an appointment online or call one of the locations listed below.

Referrals

Health care providers, please visit our referral page to refer your patient to this service.

Director's Message

  • About Heart Disease in Women

    Studies have shown that women with coronary artery disease often visit their doctors later than men do, and women with coronary disease may have fewer cardiac diagnostic procedures performed on them. Women who have diabetes are at much greater risk for coronary artery disease. Women with dyslipidemia (bad cholesterol) require special attention as the national guidelines for ideal cholesterol levels in women vary slightly from those in men. Furthermore, the role of hormone replacement therapy in women with coronary artery disease is complex and requires special attention by physicians and health care providers to stay current on the recommendations from emerging research.

    The women providers at Gill’s Women’s Heart Health Program take a proactive approach in the cardiac care of women. This includes evaluation and treatment of the following:

    • Cardiovascular disease in pregnancy 
    • Chest pain 
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • Hyperlipidemia (elevated levels of fat in the blood)
    • Coronary artery disease 
    • Palpitations 
    • Syncope (temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure)
    • Congestive heart failure 
    • Valvular heart disease 

    In addition, the clinic offers counseling for family history of early coronary disease and hormone replacement therapy in coronary disease. Echocardiography and stress testing are available.

    Who should be referred to the Women's Heart Program?

    • Any woman who needs evaluation for the above conditions
    • Women who have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease
    • Women with a history of shortness of breath and other cardiac-related symptoms
    • Women with other cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes mellitus, sedentary lifestyle and tobacco use
    • Women who experienced complicated pregnancies
    • Women who have had cancer

    Listen to a podcast about women's heart health and the differences between men and women from Dr. Gretchen Wells:

  • Volcano Combomap Testing

    For years, women who had chest pain and abnormal stress tests but who had cardiac catheterization only to find no obstructive coronary artery disease were reassured that everything was okay. However, data showed that these women were at much higher risk for a particular heart condition called microvascular coronary dysfunction (MCD), which is more prevalent in women than men and can lead to serious cardiac events.

    Now at Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, we offer the Volcano Corporation ComboMap system, which allows for definitive diagnosis of MCD in our regional population of women. If you have chest pain and abnormal stress tests, but no diagnosis, ask your doctor if you are a candidate for Volcano ComboMap testing.

    If you are a provider and would like to refer a patient for Volcano ComboMap testing, contact Denise Sparks at 859-218-6713 or denise.sparks@uky.edu.

  • UK symposium spotlights research on women’s heart health