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13-02-2011 | Gynaecology | Article

IMT higher in women with hot flashes, could indicate cardiovascular risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Study results indicate that menopausal-aged women who experience 6 days or more of hot flashes in any 2-week period have higher intima-media thickness (IMT) than women who do not.

Considering IMT is "one of the most widely used and well-validated measures of subclinical cardiovascular disease [CVD]," say the researchers, "this work may suggest a synergistic effect between hot flashes and existing CVD risk factors."

Rebecca Thurston (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA) and colleagues assessed IMT, using B-mode ultrasonography, once at baseline in 432 women aged 45 to 58 years, and again 2 years later.

The team found that women who reported 6 days or more of hot flashes in the 2 weeks prior to baseline and follow-up had significantly higher IMT than did women with no hot flashes, after controlling for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors. The mean difference in IMT between these women was 0.02 mm at both time points.

These associations remained after adjusting for estradiol levels, note Thurston et al, who add that the relationship between IMT and hot flashes was most pronounced among overweight and obese women.

"This work supports the importance of continued work to understand the role of hot flashes in cardiovascular risk," they conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sarah Guy