New research from the Women's Health Initiative, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, has found that estrogen therapy provides no overall protection against myocardial infarction or coronary death in healthy postmenopausal women. There was, however, a suggestion of lower coronary heart disease risk with estrogen among women aged 50 to 59 years (Hsia J et al. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:357-365).
Previous reports had indicated that conjugated equine estrogens with continuous medroxyprogesterone acetate provided no protection against coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women and may have increased cardiac risk. In the new report, an analysis of data from 10 739 women in the estrogen-only portion of the Women's Health Initiative revealed that women taking estrogen alone had 201 coronary events, including myocardial infarctions and coronary deaths, compared with 217 events in women taking placebo.
Hampton T. Estrogen and Heart Health. JAMA. 2006;295(12):1364. doi:10.1001/jama.295.12.1364-a