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Minerva Endocrinologica 2004 September;29(3):129-38

language: English

Polycystic ovary syndrome and cardiovascular disease

Loverro G.


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The aim of the present paper is to analyze recent literature concerning the incidence of cardiovascular complications in women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The study takes into consideration all the studies that have been published to date in the international literature in order to clarify whether or not PCOS is able to determine an early onset or whether it is responsible for a higher global incidence of cardiovascular complications in adult age. The main difficulty lies in the absence of prospective studies owing to the long period of time existing between the diagnosis of PCOS and cardiovascular disease which notoriously has a long latency period. Much attention has been paid in the literature, on the other hand, to the analysis of the incidence of cardiovascular risk factors in women suffering from PCOS. Although epidemiological studies have not evidenced an increased incidence of death from cardiovascular events in women suffering from PCOS, the above conclusions might well be invalidated by a patient selection bias, by obsolete diagnostic criteria or by medical or surgical therapies that could influence the outcome of the disease and which are not considered as a confusion factor. Undoubtedly, all the data available up to the present suggest that PCOS possesses the intrinsic conditions that lead to an increased incidence of factors predisposing to cardiovascular diseases. Future longitudinal studies of a prospective nature might be useful for understanding whether the higher incidence of predisposing factors might also lead to greater expectation of cardiovascular events or whe-ther medical therapies or other factors (improvement in endocrine symptomatology with the menopause?) may prevent the increase in the expected incidence of these events.

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