Login


Women's Heart Center

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States, but many women are not aware of it. Similarly, many women may not know that heart disease symptoms are not the same for men and women, and many women do not recognize symptoms or delay seeking potentially life-saving treatment. When they do seek treatment, women often receive less aggressive treatment than men. Some women may also face issues such as cardiac disease during pregnancy. Issues of hormone replacement therapy are also unique to women. Fortunately, the Stony Brook Medicine's Women's Heart Center addresses the unique cardiac needs of women with a specially tailored program. It's individualized cardiac care of women by women.

What Is the Women's Heart Center?

The Women's Heart Center at Stony Brook Medicine is a comprehensive approach to addressing gender-based differences in cardiac health and heart disease through treatment, education, and research designed specifically for women.


Services

We offer a wide range of services especially for women. We focus on risk assessment, evaluation, risk management, and can help guide you through pregnancy when you have heart conditions.

  • Risk assessment and prevention: We assess your individual risk factors for heart disease using evidence-based guidelines. Once we assess your heart disease risk, we will help you manage that risk through lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, weight loss, or medication.
  • Comprehensive cardiac diagnostic evaluation: After reviewing your medical history and risk assessment report, and conducting an initial cardiac exam, we will order diagnostic tests if needed, and decide whether other consultants are necessary to determine the best treatment plan for you.
  • Pregnancy care: We can help you determine if it's safe for you to have a baby and help you manage your pregnancy if necessary.
  • Care of specialized populations: We understand the effects that certain disorders can have on a woman's cardiovascular health, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and pulmonary hypertension. In addition, women whose religious beliefs make seeing a male cardiologist uncomfortable may be more comfortable being cared for by the Women's Heart Program.
  • Lifestyle: You can control many of your risk factors for heart disease. Our team will educate you about controllable risk factors and how to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for heart disease. We will help you maintain or lose weight, modify your diet to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, quit smoking, and exercise more.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation referrals: A cardiac rehabilitation program is a group of activities designed to help you recover from a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, or a cardiac procedure, such as bypass surgery, and make the lifestyle changes to prevent future events. We can evaluate you and provide a referral to a cardiac rehabilitation program.


The Stony Brook Difference

When you turn to Stony Brook Medicine, you're turning to a leader. Our Women's Heart Center is the first university-based service offered in the Long Island and New York City area. Being first is important, but we also offer unparalleled medical care with an approach that relies on evidence-based guidelines. Staffed entirely by women who are experts in women's cardiology, Stony Brook's Women's Heart Center emphasizes education and prevention. We ensure that you are aware of your risk for heart disease and can take steps to lower it. If you already have heart disease, we will design an effective, individualized treatment plan that integrates cardiac treatment into medical care for any other women's issues.


SMART MEDICINE, EXPERT CARE. Our physicians are leaders in the field of women's cardiology, as demonstrated by their many publications in the medical literature that expand the knowledge needed to advance this essential area of heart care. For example, in 2011, Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD, and her Stony Brook colleagues published their article titled "Pregnancy in Patients with Pre-Existing Cardiomyopathies," in the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology. They conclude that "a multidisciplinary team approach and a controlled delivery are crucial to adequate management of patients with underlying heart disease." And this multidisciplinary approach is one of the many ways that we ensure excellence in patient care in our Women's Heart Center. (Click here to learn more about this article and how to obtain a copy of it.)


This questionnaire has been developed by our doctors to help them help women of all ages to know their risk for heart disease. It's a fact: Identifying the risk factors can help save lives!



Our Team

Co-directed by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD, and Noelle Mann, MD, our staff has years of training and experience in general cardiology as well as with women's cardiac issues. This enables us to provide comprehensive cardiac care for women. We take a collaborative approach to your care, stressing education and prevention. Our team is also involved in research focusing on women's heart disease. In addition to sharing the knowledge and insights we gain in the laboratory with our colleagues and patients, we also devote a large amount of time educating the general public about these critical issues.


Michelle Weisfelner Bloom, MD

Michelle Weisfelner Bloom, MD
Cardiology / Heart Failure
For appointments in Hauppauge:
(631) 444-9600

Noelle Mann, MD, FACC

Noelle Mann, MD, FACC
Cardiology
For appointments in East Setauket:
(631) 444-9970
For appointments in Hauppauge:
(631) 444-9600

Allison J. McLarty, MD, FACS

Allison J. McLarty, MD, FACS
Cardiothoracic Surgery
For appointments in East Setauket:
(631) 444-9970

Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD

Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD
Cardiology
For appointments in Hauppauge:
(631) 444-9600


Locations

Our physicians see patients at our satellite offices in two locations — Hauppauge, NY, and East Setauket, NY — where a variety of procedures are performed, as well.


Please click here for office phone numbers, and here for maps and directions.


Stony Brook University Hospital
Nicolls Road and Health Sciences Drive intersection
Stony Brook, NY, 11794
Map this location

Hauppauge Office of University Physicians at Stony Brook
200 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge
Map this location

Technology Park Office of University Physicians at Stony Brook
26 Research Way, East Setauket
Map this location



  • Patient Questionnaire - This questionnaire is designed to help us help women of any age identify their risk of heart disease. Once we have reviewed your completed questionnaire, we will discuss it with you at your visit.

Clinical Trials

  • IPAC: This study looks at genetic information (DNA) as well as the immune system (the body's response to fight off infections and/or viruses) to find possible causes for the heart muscle damage that occurs in peripartum cardiomyopathy. Click here for more information at the NIH Clinical Trials page. The principal investigator for this study is: Hal Skopicki, MD, PhD. The co-investigator is: Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD.
  • VIRGO: This study investigates whether there are differences in the outcomes of men and women, ages 55 or younger, following a heart attack due to the role of gender. Click here for more information at the NIH Clinical Trials page. The principal investigator for this study is: Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD.

Click here to view our Research and Innovations page.


Useful Links

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - Publishes a series of comprehensive clinical practice guidelines on heart disease (and other medical conditions) by panels of leading medical experts. These reports describe the best current knowledge and treatment guidelines for doctors and health care professionals to follow.
  • American Heart Association - Provides funding for heart disease medical research studies and offers comprehensive information about various heart conditions and treatments. Sponsors "Go Red for Women," a public awareness campaign for women about heart disease prevention.
  • Cardiosmart - A patient education website of the American College of Cardiology. It is intended to engage, inform, and empower patients to better prepare them for participation in their own care.
  • CDC-WISEWOMAN - Provides low-income, under-insured, or uninsured women with chronic disease risk-factor screening, lifestyle intervention, and referral services in an effort to prevent cardiovascular disease (the priority age group is women aged 40-64 years).
  • Family at Heart - A campaign that aims to shift the focus from disease prevention and better quality of life from individual patients to the entire family. It represents a collaborative effort between the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association and the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers.
  • Go Red for Women.
  • Mediterranean Diet - Mediterranean-style diets are often close to the dietary recommendations of the American Heart Association, especially with saturated fat consumption guidelines.
  • Office of Women's Health - Of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, aims to empower women to live healtheir lives, and promote health equity for women and girls through sex/gender-specific approaches, by developing innovative programs, educating health professionals, and motivating behavior change in consumers through the dissemination of health information.
  • See My Heart - The American Society of Echocardiography created SeeMyHeart to help patients find information about echocardiograms, what they are, what they do, and who does them.
  • Sister to Sister - The Women's Heart Health Foundation is dedicated to promoting awareness among women about heart disease, offering women free cardiac screenings for early detection and treatment, and educating women about healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce heart disease risk dramatically.
  • Women Heart - Committed to serving the needs of women with heart disease through education and empowerment.
  • Women's Heart-Health Guidelines I - Article (2004) that presents the evidence-based guidelines of the American Heart Association for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women.
  • Women's Heart-Health Guidelines II - Update (2007) on the evidence-based guidelines of the American Heart Association for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women.
  • Women's Nuclear Imaging Consensus Statement - American Society of Nuclear Cardiology Task Force on Women and Heart Disease consensus statement (2003) on the role of myocardial perfusion imaging studies in the diagnosis, risk assessment, and treatment of women with known or suspected coronary artery disease.

Other Heart-Related Organizations



Facts

5 Things Every Woman Should Know about Heart Disease


  • Women often experience different heart attack symptoms from men. These include discomfort or pressure in chest, pain in one or both arms, upper back, neck or jaw; stomach pain; nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, breaking out in a cold sweat, dizziness, or lightheadedness, inability to sleep, unusual fatigue, paleness, or clammy skin.
  • Every minute counts: On average, women wait up to 2 hours after experiencing heart attack symptoms to seek help. Women tend to have more serious heart attacks than men, resulting in death.
  • More women die of heart disease in the United States than any other disease, and more women than men die of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure causes two thirds of strokes in women.
  • Being a smoker doubles the risk for heart disease: Health risks start decreasing as soon as a few hours after smoking stops, and they continue to drop over time.


Questions about Women's Heart Health:







Q: What are the symptoms of a heart attack for a woman? Are they different in women than in men?

A: The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. However, the pain is not always severe or characterized as a pain. Pain may not be the most prominent symptom, rather shortness of breath, indigestion, palpitations, neck, shoulder, jaw, or back pain. Associated symptoms may be unusual nausea, vomiting, sweating, lightheadedness, or unusual fatigue.

Many women present to medical care well into a heart attack, after much heart damage has occurred, because their symptoms are not typical of a heart attack, or they did not think they were at risk. If you experience any symptoms or think you may be having a heart attack, call for emergency medical help. Do not drive yourself to the emergency room.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: What are the risk factors for heart disease in women?

A: Traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease that affect both men and women are:



However, other factors such as the metabolic syndrome (a combination of abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high triglycerides) can affect women more than men. In addition, mental stress and depression can have a greater impact on women than on men.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides an online risk calculator that you can use for the most precise estimate of your own risk. It's called the Risk Assessment Tool for Estimating 10-year Risk of Developing Hard CHD (Myocardial Infarction and Coronary Death). Click here to use it.

The Reynolds Risk Score is another online option for calculating risk. It is designed to predict your risk of having a future heart attack, stroke, or other major heart disease in the next 10 years. In addition to your age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and whether you currently smoke, the Reynolds Risk Score uses information from two other risk factors, a blood test called hsCRP (a measure of inflammation) and whether or not either of your parents had a heart attack before they reached age 60 (a measure of genetic risk). Click here to use this risk assessment calculator.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: What is the number-one killer of women?

A: All women face the risk of heart disease. Each year, more women die of heart disease than any other disease including breast cancer. Heart disease is often thought of as a disease that only affects men.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: What can women do to reduce their risk of heart disease?

A: There are several lifestyle changes that women can make to reduce their risk of heart disease, including:


  • Exercise 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity such as walking on most days of the week: women who need to lose weight or sustain weight loss should accumulate a minimum of 60-90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit or don't start smoking
  • Eat a diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt
  • Visit your doctor on a regular basis
  • Have your blood pressure checked
  • Have your cholesterol checked - blood pressure goal is less than 120/80 mmHg
  • Medication is indicated if blood pressure is greater than 140/90, or greater than 130/80 in diabetics or patients with kidney disease
  • Treat known risk factors for heart disease, with the advice of your doctor
  • Some women benefit from a daily "baby" aspirin, but check with your doctor prior to starting any new medication

These are the things women can do to take good care of themselves and reduce their risk of heart disease.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: Is heart disease something only older women should worry about?

A: No. Women under the age of 65 who have any risk factors for heart disease should pay close attention to their symptoms. Women of all ages should take their heart seriously. Click here to see list of risk factors.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: Can taking vitamins reduce a woman's risk of a heart attack?

A: It is uncertain whether taking any vitamins can help reduce your risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Antioxidant vitamin supplements (for example, vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene) should not be used for the prevention of heart disease in women. Folic acid, with or without B6 and B12 supplementation, should not be used for the prevention of heart disease in women.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: What is a "heart healthy" diet?

A: The answer is simply this: you must consistently choose healthy eating patterns, and healthy food selections; that is:


  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains, high fiber
  • Fish, especially oily fish, at least twice per week
  • No more than one drink of alcohol per day
  • Less than 2.3 grams of sodium per day
  • Saturated fats less than 10% of calories, less than 300 mg cholesterol per day
  • Limited trans fatty acid intake (main dietary sources are baked goods and fried foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil)

These particular foods and eating patterns form a heart healthy diet.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: Where can I find heart healthy diets for women?

A: You can find a lot of good options for heart healthy eating at the websites of the DASH Diet Eating Plan and the American Heart Association, which offer recipes, healthy cooking tips, secrets to heart-smart shopping, and more.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: What is an ideal body weight?

A: Women should maintain or lose weight through an appropriate balance of physical activity, calorie intake, and formal behavioral programs when indicated to maintain the goal of having a body mass index, or BMI, between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m² (click here for a BMI calculator) and waist circumference less than 35 inches.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: Is taking hormone replacement harmful?

A: Hormone therapy and selective estrogen-receptor modulators (SERMs) should not be used to prevent heart disease in women.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: Should I avoid secondhand smoke? Can secondhand smoke increase your risk of having a heart attack?

A: Second-hand smoke is a risk factor for having a heart attack. If you are regularly around smokers, encourage them to quit or go outdoors to smoke. This is especially important if you have had a heart attack or have been diagnosed with heart disease.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Q: Concerning care of the pregnant woman with cardiovascular disease, is it safe for a woman with heart disease to have a baby?

A: The answer depends on the problem and the woman's cardiac status. With some types of heart disease, outcomes are excellent without any special management in women with good function. With other types, pregnancy poses a reasonable risk, and still other types should rule out pregnancy altogether. We work together with high-risk obstetrics, midwives, and obstetricians on faculty and in the community. We care for the pregnant woman with cardiovascular disease through a multidisciplinary approach.

Answered by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD. Dr. Stergiopoulos is a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine. She is co-director of the Women's Heart Program.


back to top




Videos


We are committed to providing different kinds of opportunities for women and those who care about them to learn about women-centered matters of heart health. Here are short videos, produced by the Go Red for Women program of the American Heart Association, that offer useful information. When it comes to the heart, what you know can be a lifesaver.


  • Just a Little Heart Attack


  • Go Red Moms


  • Go Red Woman Shermane Wofford's Story




The Stony Brook Heart Institute - Women's Heart Program

Our Women's Heart Center is a comprehensive approach to addressing gender-based differences in cardiac health and heart disease through treatment, education, and research designed specifically for women.


News & Innovations


CT of the Heart Saves Women's Lives


Suffolk Woman Receives Lifesaving Heart Device at Stony Brook University Heart Institute, Gains New Lease on Life


Stony Brook Heart Surgeon Is Brookhaven's 2011 "Woman of the Year" in Medicine