Emory Report

July 13, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 35

Cardiologist Wenger honored by Heart Association

The American Heart Association (AHA) has named Emory cardiologist and professor of medicine Nanette Kass Wenger its Physician of the Year. Wenger received the award June 26 during the organization's 50th annual Delegate Assembly.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of Wenger, heart disease has shed its reputation as solely a man's disease. She has uncovered significant differences in how heart disease affects women and men-and was among the first physician-scientists to speak out about the great under-representation of women subjects in medical research. In a newly published book, Women & Heart Disease, and in a 1993 New England Journal of Medicine paper, Wenger points out the many ways in which women are more devastated by heart disease than men. Among her findings:

  • Women with heart disease have worse prognoses than men.
  • Women are more likely to have certain cardiac conditions, including 'silent' heart attacks.
  • Women are more likely to die soon after heart attack.
  • Women are tested and treated less aggressively for cardiac conditions including chest pain.
  • Women, as a group, have not kicked the smoking habit as well as men.

Wenger was the first woman president of the Georgia affiliate of the American Heart Association and received their Silver and Gold Distinguished Service Medallions among numerous other honors. She currently heads the Emory component of the Heart and Estrogen-Progestin Replacement Study (HERS), a national study evaluating whether hormone replacement therapy can prevent recurrent coronary episodes in women with coronary disease after menopause. She also is one of two co-principal investigators leading the EVISTA trial, an international study testing some 10,000 women in 25 countries. The study examines the role of the osteoporosis drug Raloxifene in preventing coronary death and heart attack in postmenopausal women with or at high risk for heart disease.

-Lorri Preston

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