Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., but recent advances have not led to declines in case fatality rates for women. The current review highlights gender-specific issues in ischemic heart disease (IHD) presentation, evaluation, and outcomes with a special focus on the results derived from the National Institutes of Health-National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-sponsored Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study. In the second part of this review, we will assess new evidence on gender-based differences in vascular wall or metabolic alterations, atherosclerotic plaque deposition, and functional expression on worsening outcomes of women. Additionally, innovative cardiovascular imaging techniques will be discussed. Finally, we identify critical areas of further inquiry needed to advance this new gender-specific IHD understanding into improved outcomes for women. © 2006 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation.