Women's Heart Care

A Heart Clinic Just for Women

University of Minnesota Physicians Heart Women's Heart ClinicCardiovascular disease—any disease of the heart and blood vessels—is not just a concern for men. Increasingly, it is a risk for women.

  • Heart disease claims more women’s lives than all cancers combined.
  • Cardiovascular death in women is not decreasing at the same rate as in men.
  • More women die in the first year following their heart attacks than do men.
  • 1 in 5 American women today has some form of heart disease.

Our board-certified cardiologists with University of Minnesota Heart Care have been at the forefront of a generation of breakthroughs in women’s heart disease.We offer a leading program in early detection and prevention of heart disease in women. If patients need more extensive testing, we can provide the latest, most sophisticated treatments available.

Our multidisciplinary heart team cares for women at the Women’s Heart Clinic at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina and University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Recognize and Reduce Your Risks

Our specialists can help patients understand the risk factors for heart disease and manage their health. Here are some simple steps women can take:

High cholesterol
Reduce cholesterol levels with a low-fat diet, exercise and medications, if needed.

High blood pressure
Lower high blood pressure by reducing salt (sodium) and exercising.

Quit smoking. Four to five cigarettes a day almost doubles the risk of a heart attack for a woman.

Control high blood-sugar levels through diet and exercise and take medication as prescribed.

Manage your weight. Obesity triples the risk of cardiovascular disease for women. Combine a low-fat diet and exercise for long-term success.

Physical inactivity
Get active. Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day provides the same heart-healthy benefits as vigorous exercise.

Poor diet
Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, fish, legumes, poultry and lean meat.

Find healthy ways, like exercise or meditation, to minimize stress.

Women and Heart Attacks
Nearly 50 percent of women having a heart attack don’t recognize their symptoms. Their symptoms may seem minor or vague. For as many as 30 percent of women, chest pain—one of the classic symptoms of a heart attack-- is not present. Women also tend to minimize their not-feeling-well symptoms.

You can protect yourself and loved ones by learning to recognize the symptoms. The three classic symptoms for heart attack have not changed:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Pain radiating down the left arm


Other warning signs of a heart attack, especially in women, include:

  • Nausea or indigestion

  • Pain in the jaw, neck or stomach

  • Fatigue or sudden weakness

  • Dizziness or light-headedness

  • An achy almost flu-like feeling without a fever

Some women experience heart attacks that strike suddenly, while others have heart attack warning signs and symptoms that occur hours, days or weeks in advance. Heart attacks are also generally more severe in women than in men. Some of the differences in how men and women experience heart attacks might be owing to when they have them. Women tend to have heart attacks when they are older, and because of this, women are more likely to have other medical problems, such as diabetes, that complicate their condition.

Because women’s heart-attack symptoms vary, women are frequently underdiagnosed and undertreated.

We’ve got Heart- WomenHeart of Twin Cities: A Support Group for young Women with Heart Disease

University of Minnesota Heart Care has joined efforts with WomenHeart to provide a support group for women living with a heart condition.

Learn more about our support group or contact Cynthia Sappa at 612.626.1331 for meeting information.

Initial Screening at the Women's Heart Clinic

Our multidisciplinary team understands the unique needs of women, and includes cardiologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered dietitians, cardiac rehabilitation therapists and others who deliver the best in heart care to women.

Your Women’s Heart Clinic appointment will include:

  • 30-minute cardiovascular risk assessment with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant
  • 30-minute nutrition assessment with a registered dietitian
  • 30-minute physical activity assessment with a cardiac rehabilitation therapist
  • An electrocardiogram (EKG) and/or anklebrachial index (ABI), and lab work
  • A personalized cardiac risk assessment summary for you to keep

Before the initial visit, patients will be asked to complete a health history form, keep a diet log for a week and determine their goals for the process and the clinic. If, during the appointment, the nurse practitioner finds symptoms that are suggestive of heart disease or if the risk assessment falls into an intermediate or high-risk category, patients will be referred to a cardiologist.

How to contact us

To schedule an appointment:

By phone:

  • Select "Option 1" for appointments at University of Minnesota Medical Center
  • Select "Option 2" for appointments at Fairview Southdale Hospital, Fairview Ridges Hospital, and all other Fairview medical centers and clinics 

Use our secure online form to submit an appointment request 24/7. We will receive it and follow-up with you as soon as possible.

Submit an online request


Physicians Referrals and Consultations:

To consult with a women's heart specialist, call 612.365.6000

  • Select "Option 1" for a women's heart specialist at University of Minnesota Medical Center
  • Select "Option 2" for a women's heart specialist at at Fairview Southdale Hospital, Fairview Ridges Hospital, and all other Fairview medical centers and clinics 


Women's Heart Clinics Locations:

Other University of Minnesota Heart Care Locations

WomenHeart Support Group:

For more information about our monthly women's heart support group at Fairview Southdale Hospital, contact Cynthia Sappa at 612.626.1331