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Women's Heart Health

Cardiac problems present different symptoms in women and men.  Women’s symptoms can be more subtle and are easily attributed to other conditions, so it is important to have specialists who understand the intricacies of diagnosing and treating heart disease in females.  


A number of tests may be used to diagnose heart conditions in women:

  • electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – a test that records the electrical activity of the heart to show abnormal heart rhythms that can indicate heart muscle damage.
  • stress test (usually with ECG, also called exercise ECG) – an electrocardiogram that is administered while a patient walks on a treadmill.  The test is used to diagnose coronary artery disease and to determine safe levels of exercise for patients with heart conditions.
  • nuclear scanning – a test which helps identify healthy and damaged areas of the heart.  Radioactive material is injected into a vein and then observed on a camera as it travels throughout the heart.
  • CT scan angiography – a non-invasive technique to do coronary angiography.
  • diagnostic cardiac catheterization (angiogram) – a test that uses x-rays and contrast media to locate narrowing, blockages and other abnormalities of the coronary arteries.


Emerson offers a comprehensive array of services for women with heart disease including:

  • Coronary Care Unit where patients with serious heart problems are closely monitored and receive specialized, individual care.
  • Telemetry Unit designed for patients with heart-related problems who require monitoring, but need less intensive nursing care than is provided in the CCU.
  • Cardiology Lab offering testing for heart disease, including electrocardiograms (EKGs), trans-esophageal echocardiography, holter monitoring, echocardiograms, stress testing, nuclear stress testing and CT angiography.
  • A Cardiac Rehabilitation Program designed for patients who have experienced a heart attack, coronary artery bypass grafting, angioplasty or valve replacement surgery or who suffer from angina.
  • Board-certified cardiologists with offices in Concord and Westford.
  • Pediatric cardiologist from Mass General with an office in Concord.

Support Services and Groups

Emerson Hospital offers a number of specialty services that complement the medical needs of many women with heart disease. These include:

  • Surgical Weight Loss Center -- provides surgical options for weight loss.
  • Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine – helps patients manage problems with wound healing, sometimes a complication of vascular problems. 
  • Elizabeth Smith Agarwal Diabetes Center – clinical care, support and education for patients with diabetes.
  • Community health and wellness programs – Emerson offers a wide range of community health and wellness programs and classes that can help participants lower cardiac risk factors. Topics include heart-healthy eating with cooking demonstrations, the latest information on preventing and treating heart disease, programs that use hypnosis to help participants quit smoking or lose weight, and stress reduction programs that use yoga, meditation, reiki and qi gong.