Association of infertility with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease among postmenopausal participants in the Women's Health Initiative.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association of infertility with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) among postmenopausal participants in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). We hypothesized that nulliparity and pregnancy loss may reveal more extreme phenotypes of infertility, enabling further understanding of the association of infertility with ASCVD.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.
SETTING: Forty clinical centers in the United States.
PATIENT(S): A total of 158,787 postmenopausal participants in the Women's Health Initiative cohort.
INTERVENTION(S): Infertility, parity, and pregnancy loss.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): The primary outcome was risk of ASCVD among women with and without a history of infertility, stratified by history of live birth and pregnancy loss. Cox proportional-hazards models were adjusted for demographics and risk factors for ASCVD.
RESULT(S): Among 158,787 women, 25,933 (16.3%) reported a history of infertility; 20,427 (80%) had at least 1 live birth; and 9,062 (35%) had at least 1 pregnancy loss. There was a moderate overall association between infertility and ASCVD (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.99-1.06) over 19 years of follow-up. Among nulliparous women, infertility was associated with a 13% higher risk of ASCVD (95% CI, 1.04-1.23). Among nulliparous women who had a pregnancy loss, infertility was associated with a 36% higher risk of ASCVD (95% CI, 1.09-1.71).
CONCLUSION(S): Women with a history of infertility overall had a moderately higher risk of ASCVD compared with women without a history of infertility. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk was much higher among nulliparous infertile women and among nulliparous infertile women who also had a pregnancy loss, suggesting that in these more extreme phenotypes, infertility may be associated with ASCVD risk.
Fertility and sterility
Murugappan, G., Leonard, S., Farland, L., Lau, E., Shadyab, A., Wild, R., Schnatz, P., Carmichael, S., Stefanick, M., & Parikh, N. (2022). Association of infertility with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease among postmenopausal participants in the Women's Health Initiative.. Fertility and sterility, 117 (5), 1038-1046. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2022.02.005