Latest ‘news’ about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the heart

It would be true to say that for every study that claims benefits for hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there is another that says it isn’t beneficial. There are host of reasons why this might be the case and this is not really the place to have this debate – suffice it to say that the latest information from the 49th Annual Meeting of the American College of Cardiology, which was presented in March this year has stated that the claims that HRT can be beneficial to the heart may have been overstated.

A new study called ERA (Estrogen Replacement and Atheriosclerosis trial) has claimed to show that HRT does not prevent heart disease in older women.  However, the study was with 309 older women who were on average 65 years old and who ALREADY had heart disease.  They were each randomly given Premarin (an oestrogen only preparation), Prempro (an oestrogen and progesterone combination) or a placebo.

As the study progressed, the researchers used quantitative coronary angiography to identify and measure any changes to the participants arteries that occurred as a result of treatment. The changes that researchers were looking for included, further narrowing of the arteries and a build up of cholesterol, both of which can lead to chest pain and heart attack.

The group were followed up, on average, after 3.2 years and (perhaps unsurprisingly as all the women already had heart disease) all three groups showed the same rate of narrowing of the coronary vessels. The researchers have concluded that neither oestrogen alone nor oestrogen combined with a progesterone had positively changed the course of the existing heart disease compared to those women who had been given the placebo.

Now, I’m not one to carp on about this – but surely if you wanted to check whether heart disease was prevented by the use of hormone replacement therapy then you should perhaps have been considering working with women who didn’t display heart disease to start with!

10 thoughts on “Latest ‘news’ about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the heart

  1. Rita

    Leeann, I had a total hysterectomy 28 years ago. I was put on Hormones immediatly. Premarin, I went off of that med because of the way it is harvested. It is from horses which they keep peregnent, it is their urine. I feel this is cruel, where do all the colts, babys go? I went on estrace which is a synthetic. I never had a hot flash, I always felt fine when taking the hormone. I was recently taken off because I had a heart attack and was told hormones could be one of the causes. I now at my old age have hot flashes, it is bothersome. I would like to go back on the med, just a small amount to curb that problem. I feel the studies have been on and off on this medication and I can’t understand why they can’t be more accurate on their diagnosis. I hope you feel better soon, you should be by now. They say 6-8 weeks you can drive and do the normal tasks, and I did listen to the doctor.

  2. leeann

    hello i had hysterectomy done 7 weeks ago and was ut on hrt patches yesterday and iron tablels. my overaies have given up was told i will be on both for along time. feel so weak, worn out and feel loke im going to be sick had the worst night ever last night. can any one tell how long before i feel my self again . im 38 and feeling very lost as it has all been a bit o a shock :( leeann

  3. Connie

    I am 70, and nearly 10 years off estrogen. Due to uterine prolapse, must have hysterectomy and possibly have the ovaries and tubes removed as well.
    Since I went off estrogen (due to the study scare) it as though I practically watch my body sag and die. I would like to go back on estrogen to prevent any further damage being. Have bad arthritis but no sign osteoporosis so far. Would also like to participate in a GOOD, RELIABLE study based on genuine random sampling.
    Any info on women my age? Opinions appreciated. Thanks.

  4. ann southam

    hi i had a hysterectomy when i was 26 im now 42 i have been on hrt all that time but been having a lot of headaks so stoped taking them and the doctors did a blood test but my levels were 2 low so they want me 2 go back on them so im just trying to find out more my doctors dont tell me need 2 know the best way to go about this thankyou.

      1. ann southam

        hi linda thanks for replying yes but im just so confused the doctors wont tell me much about it but i was told you should not be on hrt longer than 10 years and if there is a histoty of cancer in the family but if i dont take them i can get brittle bone so im really not sure what to do i could do with finding some were i can go and talk it over with them but iv not long moved to kidderminster so dont know were to start .

        1. Linda PH

          There is conflicting advice about HRT Ann and it is worth that most research and advice is given for women going through the menopause normally. For women going through the menopause surgically after having had a hysterectomy the suggestion is often made by medical professionals that you take it until you are 50 as you are simply replacing what you would have produced yourself. You then need to make a decision about whether you continue after the age of 50.

  5. Julia Skinner

    Thankyou for this. I am totally in agreement with you that some studies, such as this one. are done using the wrong group of women. All the women I have chatted to on this site are well under 65 and, as far as I know, do not have heart problems. As you say, it should be a study on the preventative effects of HRT not a study on reducing heart disease. It is confusing enough deciding whether or not to take it without these so called “experts” adding to the confusion and worry.
    I am considering taking it until I am 50 and then going for alternative methods

    prune tune Jules (TAH/BSO 15th Sept 2011)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>