Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany; DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research), partner site, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]
Heart failure (HF) is a complex condition affecting >40 million people worldwide. It is defined by failure of the heart to pump (HF with reduced ejection fraction) or by the failure of the heart to relax, resulting in reduced filling but with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). HFpEF affects approximately 50% of patients with HF, most of whom are women. Given that the annual mortality ranges from 10% to 30% and as there are no treatments specifically directed for HFpEF, there is a need for better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of this condition. We put forward the hypothesis that the decline of estrogen at menopause might contribute to the pathogenesis of HFpEF and we highlight potential underlying mechanisms of estrogen action, which may attenuate the development of HFpEF. We also discuss areas in which additional research is needed to develop new approaches for prevention and treatment of HFpEF.