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Cardiovascular Medicine

Women's Heart Health

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death among women. Yet, we know that 80 percent of heart disease and strokes are preventable. Because heart disease may have different symptoms or respond to treatment differently in women than in men, we are doing research to learn more about the best ways to treat women’s heart disease. And because there’s more to your health than your heart, our cardiologists work closely with specialists across our health network to provide the highest level of care if you have heart-related issues due to pregnancy, breast cancer or other health concerns.

Learn about our program

Medical College of Wisconsin experts have created a program to address the unique aspects of heart disease in women. Our dedicated team of female board-certified cardiologists is the largest in eastern Wisconsin, and we’re passionate about helping women take care of their heart health. That means carefully assessing your personal medical and family history, as well as doing an in-depth assessment of your risk for heart disease. It also means putting our state-of-the art diagnostics, genetic testing and cardiovascular treatments to work - to detect and treat obvious or subtle indicators of heart disease.  learn more
Physician and Patient Consult
Pregnancy and Stethoscope

Preeclampsia and Cardiovascular Disease

Did you know that preeclampsia increases a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease two to three-fold? Dr. Jacquelyn Kulinski (Cardiology), Dr. Nicole Lohr (Cardiology), and Dr. Jennifer McIntosh (Maternal Fetal Medicine) are determined to find out why by studying maternal vascular function and placentas in women with preeclampsia.             

Meet Our Team

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Marcie G. Berger, MD, FACC

Associate Professor

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Scott Cohen, MD

Assistant Professor

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Stacey Gardiner, MD

Assistant Professor

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Kiran Kashyap, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Staff Physician

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Jacquelyn P. Kulinski, MD

Assistant Professor

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Nicole Lohr, MD, PhD, FACC

Assistant Professor, Medical Director Cardiovascular Clinical Trials

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Peter Mason, MD, MPH, RPVI

Associate Professor

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Staci L. Milosavljevic, MD

Assistant Professor

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Linda Scaffidi, MD

Assistant Professor

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Jennifer Strande, MD, PhD

Associate Professor; Medical Director, Echocardiography Research Core; Director, Physician-Scientist Molecular and Cellular Research Pathway

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Sarah E. Thordsen, MD, FACC

Assistant Professor

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Aimee C. Welsh, MD

Assistant Professor

Comprehensive Treatment Options

We have the most advanced non-invasive screening tools to test your heart's function, including:

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Calcium Scoring test
The calcium scoring test takes a CT scan of your coronary arteries to look for plaque buildup before a heart attack occurs.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan uses a special dye with radioactive tracers to check for coronary artery disease or heart damage.
Stress Echocardiography
Stress echocardiography determines how well your heart and blood vessels are working as you exercise on stationary equipment.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with or without stress testing
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - with or without stress testing - uses radio waves and magnets to create pictures of organs and tissues.
CT Angiography test with fractional flow reserve (FFR)
A CT angiography test with fractional flow reserve (FFR) offers a non-invasive way of measuring blood flow through coronary arteries to evaluate for blockages in the arteries.
Nuclear stress test
A nuclear stress test uses a small amount of radioactive tracer to create computer images and evaluate blood flow to the heart.
Other available resources
Advanced Lipid Profiling
We offer advanced lipid profiling which may be recommended because standard cholesterol tests may not completely represent risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Genetic Testing and Counseling
We offer genetic testing and counseling for inherited heart disease disorders that can identify a disease-causing mutation in a patient or relative who has the familial heart condition.

More Information
For more information, please visit the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Women’s Heart Disease program website.

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Patient Education

Many women who have had heart attacks also mistake the chest pain for heartburn, indigestion, or a stomach ulcer, which may lead to delay in receiving timely therapy.

View Go Red for Women's ‘Just a Little Heart Attack’ video

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Clinic Facts

General statistics

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
  • An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.
  • Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  • Women comprise only 24 percent of participants in all heart-related studies.
  • African American and Hispanic women are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease compared to Caucasian women.

Hispanic women

  • Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.
  • Only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.
  • Only 3 in 10 Hispanic women say they have been informed that they are at a higher risk.
  • Only 1 in 4 Hispanic women is aware of treatment options.
  • Hispanic women are more likely to take preventive actions for their family when it comes to heart health.

African American women

  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African American women.
  • Of African American women ages 20 and older, 46.9 percent have cardiovascular disease.
  • Only 1 in 5 African American women thinks she is personally at risk.
  • Nearly 50 percent of African American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Only 43 percent of African American know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.
Clinic Mission

The mission of the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Program is to promote cardiovascular health and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in women by providing comprehensive clinical care and fostering interdisciplinary research focused on women with cardiovascular risk factors and established cardiovascular disease.

Through clinical collaborations within the Medical College of Wisconsin and local community, our team of cardiovascular providers works closely with primary care providers, obstetrician and gynecologists, oncologists, and endocrinologists to provide each woman with an individualized care plan that specifically addresses their cardiovascular health needs.

The four key components of the program are:

  • Providing a broad range of cardiovascular services through a multidisciplinary team using evidence based guidelines.
  • Coordinating care with other providers of women’s health services at MCW.
  • Facilitating and conducting basic science, translational, and clinical research focused on women’s cardiovascular health in collaboration with other research groups at MCW including the Women’s Health Research Program (WHRP).
  • To raise awareness about the burden of cardiovascular disease in women by educating patients, healthcare providers and the local community through lecture series and outreach efforts to local businesses and community groups.
Clinic Services

Diagnostic Testing

Advanced Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and Prevention

  • Advanced Lipid clinic
  • Metabolic clinic
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Smoking cessation
  • Pre-pregnancy risk evaluation
  • Evaluation of women with pregnancy related complications

Heart Failure

  • Medical therapy
  • Advanced Heart Failure Management
    Advanced device therapy including cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) evaluation and implantation.
    Cardiac Transplantation

Ischemic Heart Disease

  • Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention: percutaneous balloon angioplasty, stenting, fractional flow reserve, aspiration thrombectomy and rotational atherectomy, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)

Arrhythmia Diagnosis and Management

  • Holter and cardiac event monitors
  • Diagnostic electrophysiology (EP) study
  • Catheter ablation procedures
  • Pacemaker and defibrillator implantation
  • Syncope evaluation and management

Care of Women at Risk for CVD or with Established CVD as a result of Cancer Treatment

  • Surveillance of non-clinical cardiac disease with advanced imaging techniques including echocardiography and cardiac MRI
  • Medical management of cardiac complications related to cancer treatment including heart failure management, arrhythmia management, ischemic heart disease management
Risk Assessment and Prevention

Traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease are similar between men and women. However, women with traditional risk factors are more likely to develop serious cardiovascular disease compared to men. Our Women’s Cardiovascular Health Program team members are knowledgeable about these women specific differences in cardiovascular risk and work to not only better identify women at increased cardiovascular risk, but to work with individuals and their primary care providers to optimally manage their risk factors.

Do You Have Ideal Cardiovascular Health?

  • Total cholesterol 200 mg/dL (untreated)
  • BP 120/80 mm Hg (untreated)
  • Fasting blood glucose 100 mg/dL (untreated)
  • Body mass index 25 kg/m2
  • Abstinence from smoking
  • Physical activity at goal:
  • 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise
  • 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity exercise
  • Healthy (DASH-like) diet

Are You At Risk for Cardiovascular Disease?

If you have one or more of the following risk factors, then you are at risk:

  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle (less than 150 minutes per week of physical activity)
  • Obesity, especially belly fat
  • Family history of cardiovascular disease (female < 65, male < 55)
  • High blood pressure (>120/80 mmHg)
  • Abnormal lipids (high bad cholesterol, low good cholesterol, high triglycerides)
  • Metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, central obesity, abnormal lipids, high blood pressure)
  • Poor exercise tolerance
  • Subclinical atherosclerosis (abnormal coronary calcium scan, ABI, or carotid ultrasound)
  • Systemic autoimmune collagen-vascular disorder (Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • History of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes

Personalized Cardiovascular Health Evaluation

As part of your personalized cardiovascular health evaluation, the Advanced Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and Prevention team will provide you with a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment based on:

  • Your completed medical questionnaire with diet with activity log
  • A thorough medical and family history
  • A complete cardiovascular physical examination
  • Screening laboratory tests, ECG, and exercise treadmill test

We understand that, because traditional risk assessment tools often underestimate cardiovascular risk in women, a combination of tests including cardiac and vascular imaging techniques may be necessary for us to determine whether or not you are at increased risk for serious cardiovascular disease.

Additional diagnostic tests may include:

  • Advanced lipid profile testing
  • Coronary Calcium Score Determination
  • Ankle-Brachial Index Determination
  • Carotid Ultrasonography and Intimal Medial thickness Determination
  • Echocardiography
  • Stress Echocardiography
  • Stress Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Stress Nuclear Imaging
  • Arrhythmia (heart beat) event monitoring
  • Cardiac Catheterization/Coronary Angiography

Whether you know you already know you are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease or we are establishing that you are at risk for the first time, the Advanced Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and Prevention team at the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Program will work with you to form a comprehensive management plan that you can incorporate into your daily life now and in the future.

Management plans may include:

  • Blood pressure management through lifestyle modification (nutrition/exercise ) and medication
  • Cholesterol management through lifestyle modification (nutrition/exercise ) and supplements and medication
  • Blood sugar (diabetes) management through nutrition, exercise and medication
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Personalized exercise program
  • Weight management programs
  • Stress management techniques
Web Resources
American Heart Association My Life Check
Life’s Simple 7. AHA online tool to assess cardiovascular health

The Heart Truth
NHLBI campaign to raise awareness among women about the dangers of cardiovascular disease

The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women (PDF)
National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute

DASH Diet

Contact Us

Referring Physicians Information
To transfer a patient or consult with a specialist: Call the Access Center at (414) 805-4700 or (877) 804-4700.
(For physicians and staff only.)

 

Nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Patient Information

Please call 1-800-DOCTORS to make an appointment in the Cardiovascular Medicine clinic.                 

Clinic Location
9200 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 805-6000
Medical College of Wisconsin Google map location