Although heart disease in young women causes many deaths, it has been virtually ignored by the medical profession because it represents only a small fraction of the total incidence of atherosclerotic heart disease.
However, young women who suffer an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have a mortality risk markedly higher than that of young men, and the limited data on young women from minority groups in the USA suggest that this population may have the highest risk of any young subgroup.
There have been no large, prospective studies of ischemic heart disease in young women, even though the death toll is comparable to that due to breast cancer. Findings from the small number of studies that have been published suggest that the biology, epidemiology, care, and outcomes of heart disease in women differ from those of men.
The IMJOVEN study is the Spanish counterpart of the VIRGO study, an NIH-sponsored investigation led by Harlan Krumholz of Yale University into the excess risk in young women with AMI.
The specific aims of VIRGO and IMJOVEN are as follows:
Our aim with IMJOVEN is to study 450 patients (300 women and 150 men) with a previous history of AMI, using the same protocol as the VIRGO study. We have already recruited 395 patients in 24 hospitals in Spain, and we are well on our way to completing recruitment on schedule.
IMJOVEN is coordinated by the Department of Translational Research at the CNIC, the Spanish Society of Cardiology and the RECAVA and Heracles networks. Funding comes from a FIS grant, the NIH and the CNIC.