cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular risk factors, literature synthesis, rural, women



  1. Alreshidi, Bader G. MSN, RN, ACNP-BC
  2. Kalman, Melanie PhD, RN
  3. Wells, Margaret PhD, RN, ANP-BC
  4. Fahs, Pamela Stewart PhD, RN


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in most countries. Lack of awareness of the impact CVD has on women is a continuing problem. Rural women are at a great risk for CVD and have specific barriers to early recognition and to access to treatment.


Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to identify how the state of the science for rural women and CVD has progressed over the last decade.


Methods: Searches were conducted using the databases Cochrane, PubMed, and CINAHL with 5 major subject headings. The search resulted in the identification of 571 articles. Specific exclusion criteria resulted in an in-depth review of 15 articles. Two of the authors reviewed each article for scientific merit and interrater reliability.


Results: Most studies were conducted in the United States (67%). Four studies focused on CVD knowledge; one, on physical activity; one, on diet plus other factors; one, on the effect of dried curry leaf powder and cucumber slices on hyperlipidemia; and one each, on waist circumference, exposure to smoke from wood stoves, and social support. Five of the 15 studies focused on more than 1 component, most on diet and physical activity.


Conclusions: Depth in a body of knowledge on any 1 topic, such as the most efficacious means to decrease CVD risk factors in rural women and increase health promotion activities in the population, is lacking. Another area of concern is the lack of research articles published in cardiovascular journals that include CVD in rural women.