NEW YORK, August 25 (Praxis Press). Although coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of illness and death in women, the role of estrogen in its treatment and prevention remains unclear. To examine this relationship, Herrington and colleagues randomized a total of 309 women with angiographically verified CHD to receive: 0.625 mg of conjugated estrogen per day; 0.625 mg of conjugated estrogen plus 2.5 mg of medroxyprogesterone acetate per day; or a placebo. They then followed the women for approximately three years, analyzing baseline and follow-up coronary angiograms using quantitative methods. They found that estrogen and estrogen plus medroxyprogesterone acetate produced significant reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and significant increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels; however, neither treatment altered the progression of coronary atherosclerosis. These results suggest that estrogen replacement will not provide cardiovascular benefit to women with established CHD, at least in the short term.

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