UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Reproductive Factors and Incidence of Heart Failure Hospitalization in the Women's Health Initiative

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Clinical Epidemiology | Epidemiology | Reproductive and Urinary Physiology | Women's Health


BACKGROUND: Reproductive factors reflective of endogenous sex hormone exposure might have an effect on cardiac remodeling and the development of heart failure (HF).

OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association between key reproductive factors and the incidence of HF.

METHODS: Women from a cohort of the Women's Health Initiative were systematically evaluated for the incidence of HF hospitalization from study enrollment through 2014. Reproductive factors (number of live births, age at first pregnancy, and total reproductive duration [time from menarche to menopause]) were self-reported at study baseline in 1993 to 1998. We employed Cox proportional hazards regression analysis in age- and multivariable-adjusted models.

RESULTS: Among 28,516 women, with an average age of 62.7 +/- 7.1 years at baseline, 1,494 (5.2%) had an adjudicated incident HF hospitalization during an average follow-up of 13.1 years. After adjusting for covariates, total reproductive duration in years was inversely associated with incident HF: hazard ratios (HRs) of 0.99 per year (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.98 to 0.99 per year) and 0.95 per 5 years (95% CI: 0.91 to 0.99 per 5 years). Conversely, early age at first pregnancy and nulliparity were significantly associated with incident HF in age-adjusted models, but not after multivariable adjustment. Notably, nulliparity was associated with incident HF with preserved ejection fraction in the fully adjusted model (HR: 2.75; 95% CI: 1.16 to 6.52).

CONCLUSIONS: In post-menopausal women, shorter total reproductive duration was associated with higher risk of incident HF, and nulliparity was associated with higher risk for incident HF with preserved ejection fraction. Whether exposure to endogenous sex hormones underlies this relationship should be investigated in future studies.


cardiovascular disease, menarche, menopause, pregnancy, women

DOI of Published Version



J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 May 23;69(20):2517-2526. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.03.557. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American College of Cardiology

PubMed ID