Are age at onset of menopause and years since onset of menopause associated with cardiovascular outcomes, intermediate vascular traits, and all-cause mortality?
In this meta-analysis of 32 observational studies, premature or early-onset menopause in women younger than 45 years were associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality. Time since onset of menopause in relation to vascular outcomes was reported in 4 studies and showed inconsistent results.
Our findings underscore a potential increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes in women who experience premature or early-onset menopause.
As many as 10% of women experience natural menopause by the age of 45 years. If confirmed, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality associated with premature and early-onset menopause could be an important factor affecting risk of disease and mortality among middle-aged and older women.
To systematically review and meta-analyze studies evaluating the effect of age at onset of menopause and duration since onset of menopause on intermediate CVD end points, CVD outcomes, and all-cause mortality.
Medical databases (ie, Medline, EMBASE, and Web of Science) until March 2015.
Studies (ie, observational cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional) that assessed age at onset of menopause and/or time since onset of menopause as exposures as well as risk of cardiovascular outcomes and intermediate CVD end points in perimenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal women.
Data Extraction and Synthesis
Studies were sought if they were observational cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional studies; reported on age at onset of menopause and/or time since onset of menopause as exposures; and assessed associations with risk of CVD-related outcomes, all-cause mortality, or intermediate CVD end points. Data were extracted by 2 independent reviewers using a predesigned data collection form. The inverse-variance weighted method was used to combine relative risks to produce a pooled relative risk using random-effects models to allow for between-study heterogeneity.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Cardiovascular disease outcomes (ie, composite CVD, fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease [CHD], and overall stroke and stroke mortality), CVD mortality, all-cause mortality, and intermediate CVD end points.
Of the initially identified references, 32 studies were selected that included 310 329 nonoverlapping women. Outcomes were compared between women who experienced menopause younger than 45 years and women 45 years or older at onset; the relative risks (95% CIs) were 1.50 (1.28-1.76) for overall CHD, 1.11 (1.03-1.20) for fatal CHD, 1.23 (0.98-1.53) for overall stroke, 0.99 (0.92-1.07) for stroke mortality, 1.19 (1.08-1.31) for CVD mortality, and 1.12 (1.03-1.21) for all-cause mortality. Outcomes were also compared between women between 50 and 54 years at onset of menopause and women younger than 50 years at onset; there was a decreased risk of fatal CHD (relative risk, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80-0.96) and no effect on stroke. Time since onset of menopause in relation to risk of developing intermediate cardiovascular traits or CVD outcomes was reported in 4 observational studies with inconsistent results.
Conclusions and Relevance
The findings of this review indicate a higher risk of CHD, CVD mortality, and overall mortality in women who experience premature or early-onset menopause.
Muka T, Oliver-Williams C, Kunutsor S, Laven JSE, Fauser BCJM, Chowdhury R, Kavousi M, Franco OH. Association of Age at Onset of Menopause and Time Since Onset of Menopause With Cardiovascular Outcomes, Intermediate Vascular Traits, and All-Cause MortalityA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Cardiol. 2016;1(7):767-776. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.2415