Heart disease remains the number one killer of American women and there is a great need for specialized care directed at women's cardiac needs. The Women's Heart and Vascular Program is dedicated to screening, educating and treating women at risk for, or with established heart disease.
Under the direction of Lisa A. Freed, M.D., F.A.C.C., the Women's Heart and Vascular Program incorporates the expertise of specialists in cardiology, diabetes, menopause, nutrition, exercise physiology and smoking cessation.
Women's Heart and Vascular Program specialists collaborate with colleagues in pulmonary medicine for issues with sleep apnea and emergency medicine for optimal acute cardiac care for women. We also consult with mental health professionals for intervention with co-existing depression and anxiety. Our team includes a nurse practitioner, nutritionist, exercise physiologist, social worker, and smoking cessation experts.
Personalized Risk Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation
New patients will complete a questionnaire prior to their first appointment to identify individual risk factors and symptoms for heart disease. This questionnaire will become the basis of the initial evaluation by the cardiologist, who will review risk factors, discuss symptoms, and determine abnormalities on physical exam and electrocardiogram.
Then, an individualized care plan will be made, which may include:
- Laboratory testing, including lipid panel and blood glucose. Testing may also include hemoglobin A1C, cardio CRP, and other labs determined to be appropriate, such as thyroid or hormone testing
- Appropriate diagnostic testing
- Nuclear stress test
- Event monitor
- PET stress
- Stress echo
- CT angiography for the coronary arteries
- Coronary calcium scoring
- Cardiac MRI
- Vascular ultrasound for carotid disease and the abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Cardiac catheterization/angiography with angioplasty or stent, which may require surgery for coronary bypass grafting
- Vascular angiography for the carotids, aorta, renal arteries, or for peripheral artery disease (PVD)
- Electrophysiology care, including tilt table testing, pacemaker or defibrillators
- Appropriate referral to an additional specialist, including a diabetes or menopause expert, nutritionist, exercise physiologist, smoking cessation expert, pulmonologist, or mental health counselor
- Treatment of risk factors and/or cardiac disease with follow-up appointments for:
- Coronary artery disease, including angina, microvascular angina, coronary vasospasm
- Diabetes/metabolic syndrome
- Congestive heart failure
- Ongoing assistance with weight, exercise and stress management
- Palpitations, arrhythmias
- Smoking cessation
- Stress management
- Valvular heart disease
- Weight management
Educating women about heart disease
Our nurses and doctors specially trained in women's cardiovascular health, are available to meet with healthcare professionals, business and community groups, to talk about the unique heart health needs of women, including early detection, management and preventive care. To schedule a speaker for a community or professional group, please call Alison Lucibello, RN, MSN, at (203) 688-3212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How do I know if I should be seen by the Women's Heart and Vascular Program?
Many women may benefit from an evaluation for cardiac risk factors. Certainly any woman who carries the diagnosis of coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, congestive heart failure or vascular disease would be appropriate and welcome patients to our program.
2) What are the cardiac risk factors?
The classic risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol or hyperlipidemia, elevated blood sugar or diabetes, cigarette smoking or family history of premature coronary artery disease.
Excess stress, anxiety, depression, obesity, lack of exercise, inflammatory or auto-immune diseases, renal failure, coronary or carotid calcification are now thought to also place women at risk for vascular disease.
3) What are the cardiac symptoms?
While chest pain and shortness of breath are often the presenting complaint for heart attacks in women, they can also experience any one of the following symptoms:
- Burning sensation in the chest or upper abdomen
- Cold sweat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
- Pain or pressure in the back or high chest
- Unusual fatigue
10 Tips for a Healthy Heart
Brochure — Women's Heart And Vascular Program
To contact the Women's Heart and Vascular Program for further information or to schedule an appointment, please call Lisa Onofrio, 203.789.2272, extension 2103
1591 Boston Post Road, Suite 202
Guilford, CT 06437 Map
800 Howard Avenue
New Haven, CT 06510 Map
2 Devine Street
North Haven, CT 06473
325 Boston Post Road, Suite 1C
Orange, CT 06477 Map
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.