Hysterectomy does not increase heart disease risk

Updated: May 15, 2013, 13:18 PM IST

Washington: Having a hysterectomy with or without ovary removal in mid-life does not increase a woman`s risk of cardiovascular disease compared to women who reach natural menopause, a new study has revealed.

"Middle-aged women who are considering hysterectomy should be encouraged because our results suggest that increased levels of cardiovascular risk factors are not any more likely after hysterectomy relative to after natural menopause," Karen A. Matthews, PhD, lead author of the study and a distinguished professor of psychiatry and professor of epidemiology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, said.

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman`s uterus; it is sometimes accompanied by the removal of the ovaries to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.

Hysterectomy is a common surgical procedure for women, but the benefits must be weighed against potential long-term related health consequences.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women and many studies have shown increased risk of cardiovascular disease to be a health risk associated with hysterectomy, especially accompanied by ovary removal.

Researchers in those studies usually evaluated cardiovascular disease risk factors years after hysterectomy and/or ovary removal and did not assess individual risk factor levels pre-surgery.

This is the only multiethnic study that has tracked prospective annual changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors relative to hysterectomy or natural menopause.

Investigators found that several cardiovascular disease risk factor changes differed prior to and following hysterectomy, compared to changes prior to and following a natural menopause , but those changes did not suggest an increased cardiovascular disease risk following hysterectomy, independent of body mass index, which did increase after hysterectomy with removal of ovaries.

The research is published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.