Issue: 2012 > February/March > original article

Risk of cardiovascular events in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome

S. Iftikhar, M.L. Collazo-Clavell, V.L. Roger, J. St. Sauver, R.D. Brown Jr, S. Cha, D.J. Rhodes


Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have
increased prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors.
However, data on the incidence of CV events are lacking
in this population. Using Rochester Epidemiology Project resources, we conducted a retrospective cohort study comparing CV events in women with PCOS with those of women without PCOS in Olmsted County, Minnesota.
Between 1966 and 1988, 309 women with PCOS and 343
without PCOS were identified. Mean (SD) age at PCOS
diagnosis was 25.0 (5.3) years; mean age at last follow-up was 46.7 years. Mean (SD) follow-up was 23.7 (13.7) years. Women with PCOS had a higher body mass index (29.4 kg/m2 vs 28.3 kg/m2; p=.01). Prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension and levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides were similar in the two groups. We observed no increase in CV events, including myocardial infarction (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.32 to 1.72; p=.48); coronary artery bypass graft surgery (adjusted HR 1.52; 95% CI 0.42 to 5.48; p=.52); death (adjusted HR 1.03; 95% CI, 0.29 to 3.71;
p=.96); death due to CV disease (adjusted HR 5.67; 95% CI 0.51 to 63.7; p=.16); or stroke (adjusted HR 1.05; 95% CI 0.28 to 3.92; p=.94). Although women with PCOS weighed more than controls, there was no increased prevalence of other CV risk factors. Furthermore, we found no increase in CV events. While
prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings,
women with PCOS do not appear to have adverse CV outcomes in midlife.