Women's Heart Care

Women and heart disease – it can and does happen to women of any age – from childbearing years through menopause and beyond. Know your risk factors and have a well-woman check-up that helps you monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight. Make healthy food choices, get daily exercise and avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol intake. Know your numbers and prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Our approach at the St. Vincent Medical Group Cardiology Women’s Heart Program is to personalize all levels of cardiac care for women of any age. Heart and vascular diseases present differently in women than men and the treatment plans are often different. But one thing is the same, if your father (mother, siblings, or grandparents) have had a heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, that information puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Our program is a gateway to the coordination of specialized cardiovascular care in communication with your family physician or OB/GYN. We provide cardiac preconception and prenatal consults, advanced cardiac testing and cardiac risk assessment evaluations, as well as multidisciplinary care for women with complex conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and congestive heart failure.

Image of Sherry Stute

"As the medical director of the Women’s Heart Program, we are dedicated to working with your family physician, obstetrician and gynecologist, family physician and maternal-fetal medicine specialist to help prevent a cardiac event and manage heart disease and vascular concerns at all stages of womanhood – from maternal cardiac care to menopausal heart-related symptoms and women with advanced heart failure."

– Suneetha Venkatapuram, MD, board-certified Cardiovascular Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology, and Echocardiography and is the Medical Director of Women’s Heart Program at St. Vincent Evansville. Dr. Venkatapuram is also the region’s only cardiologist board-certified in Adult Congenital Heart Disease.

Maternal Cardiac Care

Maternal Cardiac Care

Make an Appointment

To schedule a preconception or prenatal cardiac consultation, call 812-473-2642.

FACT: Pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure) complicates nearly 10% of all pregnancies. Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious complications for mother and baby. (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute data, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Monitoring your blood pressure is an important part of prenatal care. Our cardiologists in the Women’s Heart Program provide preconception and prenatal consults, as well as heart care throughout your childbearing years. Through our program, we communicate closely with the obstetrician, maternal-fetal medicine specialist and pediatric cardiologist (as needed) for comprehensive maternal-fetal cardiac care.

  • Family history of congenital heart disease
  • Gestational diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors
  • History of connective tissue disease such as Marfan syndrome or Loeys-Dietz syndrome
  • Hypertension before, during and after pregnancy
  • Preeclampsia and heart complications
  • Pregnancy and heart palpitations and arrhythmias

Our team will coordinate prenatal consults with the pediatric cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon when a fetal congenital heart condition is detected.

Women’s Cardiac Risk Clinic

Women's Cardiac Risk Clinic

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, contact the Women’s Cardiac Risk Clinic at

FACT: Heart disease is the leading killer of women. A decline in natural hormone estrogen may be a factor in the increase of heart disease among post-menopausal women. (AHA 2017 www.heart.org)

The Women’s Cardiac Risk Clinic is for women who have a family history of heart attack or stroke or who develop risk factors at any stage of life. Our program offers a personalized heart risk assessment and heart care plan for women of any age who are either experiencing symptoms that could indicate coronary artery disease or for women who have known risk factors before symptoms develop.

  • Perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause – Mid-life changes (like hot flashes and heart palpitations) are now happening earlier in life (mid-40s). During peri-menopause and menopause, underlying heart disease can also develop into a bigger health concern. Talk to your doctor about how to balance the hormonal life changes with potential heart and stroke risk factors.

Women, Risk Factors and Heart Disease

Our Women’s Cardiac Risk Clinic focuses on heart care prevention by keeping high blood pressure and cholesterol under control and providing an integrated heart care plan. We will assess all of your risk factors, especially those associated with related women’s health conditions.

  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart attack and stroke
  • Inactivity
  • Menopause
  • Mental stress and depression
  • Pregnancy complications (ie. preeclampsia)
  • Smoking

What to Expect

The Women’s Cardiac Risk Assessment starts with a “well-woman” check-up and a thorough medical history. This information helps you understand how to improve your overall heart health and well-being. The cardiac risk assessment includes:

  • Patient cardiac risk profile (Demographics, personal and family medical history, nutrition assessment, cardiac risk assessment)
  • Fasting blood tests (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c)
  • 12-lead EKG and blood pressure check
  • Evaluation by a cardiologist with analysis of all tests and potential heart risks. This clinician will create a personalized lifestyle modification plan and coordinate care with your primary care physician (including your gynecologist).

Know your numbers!

The American Heart Association Go Red for Women encourages all women to know your numbers and help cut your risk for heart disease and stroke. To learn more click here....

Talk to our Women’s Heart Program physicians about how your numbers add up: Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar and BMI (Body Mass Index). Your heart depends on it

Women and Advanced Heart Failure

Learn More

For questions about women and congestive heart failure, call 812-473-2642.

FACT: Good cardiac treatment can result in good outcomes.

Heart failure is a condition that often causes swelling in lungs, abdomen, legs and feet. Besides swelling, shortness of breath and fatigue are key symptoms of heart failure. Diseases like high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes can damage the heart and cause heart failure.

When your heart can’t pump blood properly throughout the body, eventually the heart grows weaker.

  • Right-side heart failure means the heart isn’t pumping the blood to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen.
  • Left-side heart failure happens when the heart can’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.
  • Some women have both right- and left-side heart failure.

The Women’s Heart Program works closely with the St. Vincent Evansville Heart Failure Clinic to diagnose, treat and manage heart failure. Women who have heart failure are living longer, more active lives, but it is important to diagnose this condition early and to follow your personalized treatment plan.

For many patients, an effective medication management program, a low-sodium heart healthy diet and daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight can improve your quality of life. If advanced surgical interventions, including ventricular assist devices or heart transplantation are needed, St. Vincent provides comprehensive cardiovascular services.

Mary Norine Walsh, MD

St. Vincent Advanced Heart Failure specialist explains how heart failure affects women and shares this hopeful message: Treatment of heart failure can restore heart failure.

Source: WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease


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