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Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 1997 Dec;9(4):447-52.

Cardiovascular anatomy and physiology in the female.

Author information

1
Critical and Acute Care Patient Services, Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Abstract

Important differences in male and female cardiovascular anatomy and physiology may account for many of the gender differences seen in various cardiac disease states. Predominant influences on female disease manifestations include (1) women's smaller body size, hence smaller hearts and smaller coronary vessels and (2) women's fluctuating levels of estrogen throughout their lifespan. Understanding these critical anatomic and physiologic differences allows the clinician to better predict and plan care for women. For example, knowing that women generally have a smaller body surface area than men allows one to better understand why men have higher creatine kinase (CK) values than do women--an important distinction when interpreting these values in the acute care setting. The fact that women's hearts and coronary vessels are generally smaller than men's also helps one understand why women have a higher in-hospital mortality than men post-coronary artery bypass graft surgery (see article by Allen in this issue for more detailed information on revascularization). These are only a few examples of the many opportunities that acute care nurses have to integrate their knowledge of anatomy and physiology into proactive planning for their female cardiac patients.

PMID:
9444167
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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