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Coron Artery Dis. 1997 Aug-Sep;8(8-9):511-5.

Estradiol concentrations in premenopausal women with coronary heart disease.

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Department of Cardiology, University of Ulm, Germany.



Because of the beneficial effects of estrogen, premenopausal women are normally protected against coronary heart disease (CHD) and are at lower risk for myocardial infarction; consequently, CHD occurs very rarely in menstrually active women. Given this background, the aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that decreased concentrations of estrogen are associated with CHD in premenopausal women.


Fourteen premenopausal women with CHD were investigated and compared with a healthy control group comparable for age and cardiovascular risk factors. Relevant characteristics of patients and controls were assessed: age, blood pressure, body mass index, total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, former pregnancies, ovariectomy and related surgical interventions, smoking history and former use of oral contraceptives. To ensure the premenopausal status of the participants, the regularity of the menstrual cycle and the follicle-stimulating hormone concentrations were also assessed. Plasma estradiol and progesterone and urine estrone concentrations (24 h urine collection) were measured at day 6 after estimated ovulation to assess the relative increase in plasma estradiol and progesterone during the second half of the menstrual cycle.


Compared with the control group, premenopausal women with CHD had significantly lower concentrations of plasma estradiol (408.9 +/- 141 pmol/l and 287.8 +/- 109 pmol/l respectively; P = 0.0228) and total estrogen (2061 +/- 693 pg/mumol creatinine and 1607 +/- 448 pg/mumol creatinine respectively; P = 0.025) in the urine. However, the progesterone concentrations were not significantly different between the groups. These findings might be explained by a partial ovarian dysfunction, as the patient group had a significantly higher number of tubal sterilizations (eight compared with one).


Our data provide support for the hypothesis that decreased concentrations of estradiol might be an additional pathogenetic factor for the development of CHD in menstrually active premenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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