Heart failure (HF) poses a heavy burden on patients, their families and society. The syndrome of HF comes in two types: with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). The latter is on the increase and predominantly present in women, especially the older ones. There is an urgent need for mortality-reducing drugs in HFpEF, a disease affecting around 5 % of those aged 65 years and over. HFpEF develops in patients with risk factors and comorbidities such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, COPD, but also preeclampsia. These conditions are likely to drive microvascular disease with involvement of the coronary microvasculature, which may eventually evolve into HFpEF. Currently, the diagnosis of HFPEF relies mainly on echocardiography. There are no biomarkers that can help diagnose female microvascular disease or facilitate the diagnosis of (early stages of) HFpEF. Recently a Dutch consortium was initiated, Queen of Hearts, with support from the Netherlands Heart Foundation, with the aim to discover and validate biomarkers for diastolic dysfunction and HFpEF in women. These biomarkers come from innovative blood-derived sources such as extracellular vesicles and circulating cells. Within the Queen of Hearts consortium, we will pursue female biomarkers that have the potential for further evolution in assays with point of care capabilities. As a spin-off, the consortium will gain knowledge on gender-specific pathology of HFpEF, possibly opening up novel treatment options.
- Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction