Women's Heart Disease

Have a heart to heart with one of our cardiologists

At Main Line Health, our cardiac experts understand the unique heart health needs of women. We take pride in showcasing a team of accomplished female cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeon and advanced practice providers. We work in close collaboration to ensure you get the very best care and attention.

We believe that a woman's perspective is priceless when it comes to matters of the heart.

Heart disease is the single most common cause of death in women and men. In many cases, heart disease is preventable. It can manifest differently in women compared to men, and addressing these gender-specific nuances is critical for effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Women’s Heart Initiative team provides education, emotional support and encouragement for all women facing heart health journey. We’re committed to keeping you informed of risk factors and connecting you to specialists, all while advancing life-saving research to improve treatment and outcomes for women.

Taking care of our hearts begins with knowledge and awareness, followed by desire and supporting action. Be an advocate for your heart health.

According to the American Heart Association, one in every three women die each year of heart disease — yet only 44% of women are aware of this fact.

Heart attack symptoms unique to women

Many experts emphasize that women, often preoccupied with caring for others and multitasking, may overlook their own well-being and dismiss symptoms of a heart attack. While the most common symptom is chest pain, pressure or discomfort, it's crucial to note that it may not always be severe or the most prominent indication. In some cases, women may experience a heart attack without chest pain, such as: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Right arm pain
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

This underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing diverse symptoms to ensure timely intervention and prioritize women's heart health.

Women's Heart Disease resources

Risk Assessment

Use our cardiac risk assessment tool to take an important step in managing your heart health today!

View the risk assessment

Know your numbers

Knowing your cholesterol, triglyceride, blood pressure, blood sugar and BMI is your first defense against heart disease. Your obstetric history is also important. 

Learn more about your numbers

Red chair video series

Main Line Health and the American Heart Association (AHA) has launched The Red Chair Series — a collection of short videos designed to empower and educate. We aim to inspire women to become proactive advocates for their health, ensuring the vital message of disease management, prevention, and the importance of early cardiovascular health discussions reaches women across all ages, races, and backgrounds.

View videos

Women's heart support group

We know that the road to a healthy heart is not always an easy one. We’re here to offer a supportive hand, a listening ear, and a safe space where you can connect with other women who truly understand what you’re going through. Join us for Heart-to-Heat Conversations, virtual meetings that are free of charge, do not require registration, and are open to all women — regardless of where you are receiving care.

View events

Educational Videos

Lankenau Heart Institute's Women's Heart Institute offers educational videos to learn about the unique factors that increase your risk for heart disease — the #1 killer of women in the country.

View the educational videos

Guide to protect her heart

A woman's guide to protect her heart, is an educational guidebook customized for women by women. It will empower you to take control of your own heart health by being fully informed of the unique risk factors that increase your risk of heart disease — the #1 killer of women in the United States.

View our guidebook

National Coalition of Women Heart National Hospital Alliance

Main Line Health is committed to advancing women’s heart health through its partnership with the National Coalition of Women Heart National Hospital Alliance. This partnership seeks to ensure that women with heart disease in the communities we serve have access to educational materials and programs developed by the nation’s medical leaders in women’s heart health, and access to the training and technical assistance required to establish and maintain our post-discharge from the hospital support group called "Heart to Heart Conversations" for our female heart patients.

Learn more about WomenHeart

AmericanHeart Association Go Red for Women Logo

For almost twenty years, Main Line Health has served as the American Heart Association's Philadelphia Goes Red for Women sponsor. Through Go Red for Women, Main Line Health and the American Heart Association (AHA) are committed to unlocking new strategies — grounded in science — that provide women with the resources and tools they need to live a heart healthy lifestyle at every age.

Preventive and diagnostic screening tests

Heart screening tests are crucial for assessing cardiovascular health and identifying potential risks early on. These tests play a key role in preventive health care by enabling the detection of conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol before symptoms become apparent. Early intervention can significantly reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes.

Given that heart disease can present differently in women, tailored screenings consider gender-specific factors. Regular tests can identify conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes, contributing to personalized preventive strategies. Women with additional risk factors, like a family history or hormonal changes, benefit even more from timely screenings. Prioritizing heart health through screenings empowers women to make informed lifestyle choices and proactively manage cardiovascular risks

Ambulatory Cardiac Monitoring

If you have certain heart-related symptoms or a condition such as arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat), but a standard electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) is unable to detect any abnormality, your doctor may recommend ambulatory cardiac monitoring.

Coronary Calcium Score

If you are at risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) — even if you do not have any symptoms — your doctor may recommend a coronary calcium scan and get your coronary calcium score.

Coronary Angiogram and Cardiac CT Angiogram

Doctors use angiograms to examine blood vessels. Coronary angiogram is the traditional imaging method of the heart and great vessels while cardiac CT is a minimally invasive alternative for certain patients.

Echocardiogram (Echo)

An echo is an imaging technique using sound waves to take pictures of your heart while it’s beating. It shows how chambers, valves and vessels move together.


An electrocardiogram, commonly referred to as an ECG or EKG testing, is a test that records the electrical activity of your heart and can help screen for heart disease.

Myocardial Perfusion Scan

Your doctor may recommend this scan if you’re having chest pain (angina), or to assess damaged areas and blood flow to your heart after a heart attack.

Cardiac Stress Test

While walking on a treadmill, your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing will be monitored to see how your heart responds to exercise “stress.”

Related specialties

Consultative Cardiology Program

Our multidisciplinary team of cardiac specialists, including physicians, nurses and dietitians, work together to secure a prompt diagnosis, identify appropriate treatment options, and facilitate long-term, follow-up care.

Structural Heart and Valvular Disease Program

At Main Line Health, we treat structural heart and valvular disease that other centers have deemed untreatable. Our team of cardiologists, imaging specialists, interventionists and surgeons is among the most experienced in the region. Learn more about Main Line Health's structural heart and Valvular disease program.

Peripheral Artery and Venous Disease Program

Our team evaluates your risk factors and uses the latest treatment advances and novel techniques to restore blood flow throughout your body and to minimize your risk for heart attack, stroke and amputation.

Heart Failure

Causes of heart failure include coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, which may contribute to weakening or stiffening the heart.

Aortic Wellness Center

Complex aortic disease treatment at Lankenau Heart Institute begins with the experience of an exceptional team of aortic wellness specialists, state-of-the-art diagnostic technology, and a comprehensive array of medical and minimally invasive surgical treatment options.

Coronary Artery Disease Program

We approach coronary artery disease with preventive strategies along with medication therapy and the least invasive yet most sophisticated surgical techniques available.

Cardio-Oncology Program

Lankenau Heart Institute cardiologists with expertise in cancer-related heart problems are working with oncology colleagues across Main Line Health to coordinate cancer treatment with heart care. Main Line Health Cardio-Oncology Program is devoted to protecting heart health after a cancer diagnosis.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Of patients who have completed cardiac rehabilitation program at a Main Line Health facility, 95 percent show improvement in functional ability and 100 percent of patients report overall improvement in their quality of life.