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While heart disease is commonly associated with men, it affects everyone. 

It’s the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., and they tend to experience atypical symptoms and risk factors when compared to men.

Heart disease (or cardiovascular disease) includes a range of conditions like high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, heart attacks and heart failure. 

At Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Health, our cardiologists and specialists offer specialized, compassionate care uniquely tailored to women. Our goal is to help you better understand your risk factors, support you in protecting your heart, and provide timely treatment when necessary.

Why choose us? 

  • Nationally recognized care: At Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, our care has repeatedly earned national recognition, including top ratings from U.S. News & World Report. 
  • Top regional expertise: We’re the only program in the region offering cardio-obstetrical services, ensuring our patients receive the best care throughout their pregnancy. And we are the first in the region to offer expertise in diagnosing and treating spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD).
  • Top national expertise: We are one of very few Centers in the nation to offer expertise in diagnosing and treating spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD).
  • Comprehensive, coordinated care: To provide complete heart care, we work closely with our women’s care team and coordinate access to specialized care like cardio-obstetrics, heart failure, genetic testing, advanced imaging and vascular medicine
  • State-of-the-art imaging: Sanger has advanced imaging capabilities and ranks among the nation’s highest volumes, which means you get quicker access to diagnostic information and prompt treatment decisions. We’ve also pioneered novel CT vascular imaging to minimize contrast and radiation exposure.

What to expect from your appointment

We focus on your specific needs, taking into account your health history, family background and daily life, and provide personalized support to help you make lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of heart disease. We also work closely with your primary care doctor to ensure consistent, comprehensive care throughout your journey. 

Here’s what to expect before, during and after your first appointment:

  • Before your appointment: We ask that you send us your medical records, including your medical history, test results and images (like an echocardiogram). We’ll also reach out to give you information about your initial care plan and upcoming appointments.
  • During your appointment: You’ll meet with a women’s cardiologist who will evaluate your condition, determine which tests and diagnostic care are needed, and answer any questions you may have. 
  • After your appointment: We will review your test results in depth and develop a personalized care plan, which may include recommended lifestyle changes, further testing or specialized referrals for additional care. Your nurse will reach out to you with specific instructions.

Conditions treated 

Who we treat

  • Women at risk for heart disease
  • Women who have an abnormal coronary calcium score
  • Women who have a history of hypertensive disorder of pregnancy (like preeclampsia or gestational hypertension)
  • Women with hypertension and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
  • Women with a history of gestational diabetes
  • Women who have familial hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels)
  • Women with high triglycerides
  • Women who have statin (cholesterol-lowering drug) intolerance
  • Pregnant patients with known congenital heart disease
  • Pregnant patients with a preexisting or new heart disease diagnosis
  • Pregnant patients with the following conditions:
    • A history of peripartum cardiomyopathy
    • New diagnosis of peripartum cardiomyopathy
    • Pre-existing or new diagnosis of heart failure
    • Myocarditis

What we treat

  • Arteriopathy - a group of conditions that impact the arteries, leading to abnormal changes in their structure or function that can disrupt blood flow
    • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) 
    • Fibromuscular dysplasia
    • Arterial dissection or aneurysm
    • Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA) - heart attack despite clear arteries 
  • Ischemia with non-obstructive coronary arteries (INOCA) - reduced blood flow despite clear arteries
  • Coronary spasm - temporary artery tightening, leading to reduced blood flow
  • Coronary artery disease - blocked heart arteries, leading to reduced blood flow
  • Peripheral artery disease - narrow or blocked vessels, leading to reduced blood flow from the heart to the legs


We provide specialized, comprehensive care designed to meet the unique cardiovascular needs and challenges that women may encounter.

Our services include:

  • Specialized care for SCAD and FMD - diagnosis, treatment and management of spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), which impact women more than men
  • Cardio-obstetrics - expert heart care that safeguards the mother and baby during childbirth and pregnancy 
  • Postpartum heart care - care provided after you give birth by monitoring your heart health closely as your body recovers from pregnancy and childbirth.
  • General cardiology & vascular care - diagnosis, treatment and management for a wide spectrum of heart & vascular conditions
  • Prevention - evaluation and management for women with or at high risk of heart disease, including personalized strategies to adopt heart-healthy lifestyles 
  • Genetic counseling - identify and assess genetic factors that may contribute to heart disease

Research and innovations 

We lead and participate in national and international research studies and present the latest research on women’s cardiovascular disease at conferences around the country. 

Clinical trials

We conduct a variety of clinical trials to bring you the latest treatment options – which often aren’t available anywhere else in the region. 

Our latest clinical trials include:

  • SCAD Registry: A data repository that aims to advance spontaneous coronary artery dissection research around the world and improve patient diagnosis and outcomes. We’re the first in NC for registry enrollment. 
  • US Registry for FMD: A data repository that aims to better understand fibromuscular dysplasia and its treatment. We’re the only NC site enrolling patients in this registry.

Interested in a clinical trial?

Talk to your doctor or call us at 704-373-0212. You can also find more information on our cardiology research page.

Conferences and symposiums 

SCAD Conference: Every year, we bring together nationally recognized experts to share the latest research on SCAD, discuss how to best care for SCAD patients based on national and international consensus, develop new research ideas, and foster collaborations amongst SCAD researchers. Insights from this conference help us deliver the best possible care. Learn more.

Women’s Heart Conference: During Heart Month, we host an annual event open to all women in the community to raise awareness and provide educational information about the unique heart health needs of women, including their risk and the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

Publications and presentations 

View our recent publications and presentations

Patient resources  

Explore these informative women’s heart care resources:

Make a referral 

When you refer a patient to us, we keep you involved and informed throughout the treatment process.

If you’re a potential patient, a self-referral is only necessary if it’s required by your health insurance provider.

If you’re a physician, medical professional or you need to self-refer, please call 704-373-0212.


Meet the team

We look forward to meeting and caring for you.

Frequently asked questions