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Impact of Sex-Specific Size of the Normal and Failing Left Ventricle: Studies in Humans and Mice

Symposium — Monday, April 23, 2018 — 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM — Convention Center, Room 22
Sex/Gender Research Interest Group — Chair: Peter L.M. Kerkhof — Co-Chair: Virginia M. Miller

Although cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women, clinical presentation and outcomes show sex differences. However, known sex-specific differences in size (after indexation for body surface area) and function of the heart and blood vessels are rarely considered in diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cardiovascular disease. This symposium will highlight the interaction between the heart and the arterial circulation in males and females for a variety of settings with a focus on physiology (adaptation), as well as on pathophysiology (i.e. left ventricular remodeling as in heart failure) with possible maladaptation to altered afterload properties. The symposium encompasses data from humans and experimental animals, while emphasizing the utility of various state-of-the- art imaging techniques. Included in the program is a discussion of heart transplantation in humans that provides a unique window into the study of age- and sex-dependent adaptation in terms of left ventricular remodeling and interaction with the vascular system, without the need to rely on (extrapolated data from) animal studies. Sex differences in structure and function of the heart and viscoelastic properties of blood vessels have been documented in a variety of cardiovascular conditions and have far-reaching consequences for electrophysiology, along with implications for the contractile properties and ventriculo-arterial coupling, as well as the delivery of therapeutic interventions.An international group of experts has been invited to participate. The speakers represent up and coming men and women scientists from both the United States and Europe who will continue to contribute to linking anatomy and physiology to translational medicine in new ways. The program should attract anatomists, physiologists, basic and translational scientists who are interested in developing an evidence base for and understanding of sex-specific normal and pathophysiological aspects of the cardiovascular system. Dr. Kuznetsova from Leuven (Belgium) is an expert on longitudinal studies regarding healthy individuals and those with documented risk factors for males and females. Her focus will be on relating ventricular remodeling to altered afterload conditions as in hypertension.Dr. Wagenseil (St. Louis) investigates mechanical properties of major arteries in elastin haploinsufficient neonatal male and female mice. She analyzes mutation induced effects on vascular properties and interaction with ventricular function from birth throughout maturity, compared to wild type findings.Dr. Zusterzeel (NIH / FDA) evaluates device safety and efficiency regarding cardiac resynchronization therapy. He focuses on therapeutic interventions, in particular for left bundle branch block, using principles from electrophysiology applied to the relatively smaller hearts in women.


  • Sex-specific aspects of cardiac maladaptation to hypertension and arterial stiffness.
    Tatiana Kuznetsova — Dept. of Cardiovascular Sciences, KU Leuven

  • Sex differences in cardiac function for mice with increased arterial stiffness.
    Jessica Wagenseil — Mech. Engineer. & Materials Sci., Washington Univ.

  • Sex differences in cardiac electrophysiology and medical device effectiveness: cardiac resynchronization therapy in women.
    Robert Zusterzeel — Office of Women's Health, NIH, FDA Office of the Commissioner

    Kerkhof Peter —


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