Vasomotor symptoms (VMS) are the symptoms most frequently experienced by women transitioning to menopause and are a primary indication for menopausal hormone therapy. A growing body of evidence has associated the presence of VMS with future risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. This study aimed to systematically evaluate, qualitatively and quantitatively, the possible association between VMS and the risk for incident CVD.
This systematic review and meta-analysis included 11 studies evaluating peri- and postmenopausal women in a prospective design. The association between VMS (hot flashes and/or night sweats) and the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events, including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, was explored. Associations are expressed as relative risks (RR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI).
The risk for incident CVD events in women with and without VMS differed according to the age of participants. Women with VSM younger than 60 years at baseline had a higher risk of an incident CVD event than women without VSM of the same age (RR 1.12, 95 % CI 1.05-1.19, I 0%). Conversely, the incidence of CVD events was not different between women with and without VMS in the age group >60 years (RR 0.96, 95 % CI 0.92-1.01, I 55%).
The association between VMS and incident CVD events differs with age. VMS increases the incidence of CVD only in women under 60 years of age at baseline. The findings of this study are limited by the high heterogeneity among studies, pertaining mainly to different population characteristics, definitions of menopausal symptoms and recall bias.

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