Is PCOS Linked to Cardiovascular Disease? - EMJ

Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Linked to Cardiovascular Disease?

1 Mins
Reproductive Health

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent and genetically complex disorder that poses a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) for females, according to a study led by Zhengwei Wan, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China. PCOS affects 5–15% of reproductive-age females, and is characterised by disruptions in gonadotropin secretion, ovarian follicle generation, steroidogenesis, insulin secretion, and adipose tissue function.

The meta-analysis of 17 studies utilised the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study 2019, and investigated the global burden of PCOS-related CVD across 204 countries. Findings revealed a significant elevation in CVD risk among females with PCOS compared to those without. In the entire cohort, the pooled relative risk was 1.51 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.36–1.69), and for females aged 10–54 years, the risk was 1.37 (95% CI: 1.17–1.59), with notable heterogeneity across studies (I2: 66%; P<0.01).

The estimated global population-attributable fraction for PCOS-related CVD increased from 0.64% in 1990 to 0.85% in 2019 in the entire cohort. This rise corresponded to a more than twofold increase in PCOS-related CVD cases, from 102,530 in 1990 to 235,560 in 2019. Further analysis revealed that in 2019, North America exhibited the highest population-attributable fraction of PCOS-attributed CVD at 1.49% (95% CI: 0.89–2.32). The East Asia and Pacific region reported the highest number of new cases (n=108,430; 95% CI: 66,090–166,150), while the Middle East and North Africa regions had the highest age-standardised incidence rate of PCOS-related CVD at 11.93 per 100,000 population.

The study highlights a concerning global trend, noting a consistent rise in both age-standardised incidence rates and new case numbers, across various regions. Researchers urge heightened attention to the prevention, control, and management of CVD in female patients with PCOS, given the observed contribution of increasing PCOS prevalence to a rising population-attributable fraction for CVD incidence. This underscores the importance of targeted interventions to address the emerging burden of CVD associated with PCOS.


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