The human heart has four valves that ensure blood circulates properly. Unfortunately, these valves can degenerate—and when they do, the heart must work harder. Sometimes, it may fail altogether.
Valve diseases have been studied mainly in men, with the assumption that disease progression, presentation and risks will be similar in women. Yet there are differences that mean female heart patients may need to be managed differently. Dr. Marie-Annick Clavel, Canada Research Chair in Women’s Cardiac Valvular Health, is addressing this gap by studying valvular heart disease in women. Ultimately, she and her research team hope to improve how both men and women with heart valve disease are managed and increase their odds of survival.