Women’s Heart Program

Photo of a smiling person outside in front of trees

At the OHSU Center for Women’s Health, we offer heart care that understands women’s symptoms and risks. You will find care that is connected to and informed by the other women’s health experts at the Center for Women’s Health.

Diagnosis and treatment

Our women’s heart program provides both preventive care and heart disease treatment.

Heart disease treatment

We also treat women who have had heart attacks or strokes or who have other cardiovascular diseases. We treat all types of heart disease, including those that are more common in women:

  • Microvascular dysfunction: a disease that causes the small blood vessels in the heart not to work as they should. This condition is more common in women and causes chronic chest pain.
  • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD): an emergency condition when a blood vessel in the heart tears. This can slow or stop blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. It is more common in women.
  • Heart failure: a chronic condition that gets worse with time, heart failure can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and even a heart attack. One type, called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, is more common in women. This is when the heart pumps normally but is not able to relax properly.

Heart disease in women

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing more deaths than all types of cancer combined. Women who have heart attacks or strokes are more likely to die than men because they often seek help later and are more often have symptoms brushed off by medical providers.

At OHSU, we’re committed to taking heart disease in women seriously. We understand that women have different risk factors and often have different symptoms from men.

Heart disease risk

Women and men share some risk factors for heart disease, but almost all of them are more common or more risky for women. Women also have several risk factors that men do not.

Riskier for women than men:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking

Risks more common in women:

  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inactivity (sedentary lifestyle)
  • Depression

Risks found only in women:

  • Issues in pregnancy (such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia)
  • Early menopause

Heart disease symptoms

Women experience many of the same symptoms of heart disease and heart attack as men but there are also important differences. Women’s symptoms are more likely to be less noticeable, to show up when resting or even sleeping, and to be triggered by emotional stress.

Symptoms common in women and men:

  • Angina (dull or sharp chest pain)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Sweating

Symptoms more common in women:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, back or stomach pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Heartburn or indigestion

Women’s heart care expert

For patients

Call 503-494-1775 to schedule.

No referral is needed. 


Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Center for Women’s Health
808 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239

Map and directions

Refer a patient

Mended hearts

Our woman-centered survivorship program offers peer-to-peer mentoring, advice from cardiovascular experts and support as you navigate life after a heart attack or other cardiac event.

For more information email mendedhearts@ohsu.edu.