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GenCAD – Gender specific mechanisms in coronary artery disease


Why GenCAD 

This European pilot was aimed at improving the understanding of sex and gender differences in chronic diseases. Coronary heart disease (CAD) was used as an example to highlight these differences regarding treatment and prevention activities in European countries.

As with other chronic diseases, CAD differs significantly in women and men throughout Europe, in age distribution, risk factors, prevention, clinical manifestation, response to therapies and outcomes. However, the existing evidence regarding sex and gender differences is sometimes incomplete and the existing findings are frequently not convincingly presented to the medical community and public.

Target audiences of the project were healthcare professionals, gender-based organisations, policy makers and the general population.


The GenCAD project ran from early 2015 until the end of 2017. Over its three-year period, the GenCAD project accomplished to:

  • Analyse existing knowledge about gender differences in CAD risk factors, disease mechanisms, clinical manifestations, treatment options, access to health care, as well as management and outcomes.
  • Assess awareness of health professionals and general population to identify the most effective practices to raise awareness about sex and gender manifestations of CAD, its specific risk factors and available treatments in the member states using two types of surveys.
  • Develop information material based on the outcomes of the studies, surveys, and comprehensive needs assessment. Easily understandable factsheets will be disseminated in all official 24 EU languages.
  • Communicate & disseminate results of the surveys and the resulting factsheets to different target audiences and the health care community in all member states at various workshops and international conferences.

The GenCAD project investigated published information, European databases and existing health policies in different countries providing novel insights as to how and why different forms of CAD affect women and men, which preventive approaches are most effective in a gender-specific context and how this is already integrated into health policies. Also included were social determinants of health contributing to the inequalities between women and men, potentially affecting CAD outcomes. The project assessed awareness of different groups of the population on these facts and used this knowledge to optimize structured information in factsheets for target groups and to develop the best strategies to raise awareness at all societal levels.