Family History of Coronary Heart Disease, a Strong Risk Factor for Myocardial Infarction Interacting with Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Results from the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program (SHEEP)

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We explored the relation between family history of coronary heart disease and the risk of myocardial infarction in a case-control study of subjects, 45 to 70 years of age, living in Stockholm, Sweden. Our cases comprised 1091 male and 531 female first-time acute myocardial infarction patients who had survived at least 28 days after their infarction. Referents were randomly selected from the population from which the cases were derived. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) of myocardial infarction was 2.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6–2.6) for men reporting ≥1 affected parent or sibling, compared with men with no family history of coronary heart disease, and 3.4 (95% CI = 2.1–5.9) for those reporting ≥2 affected parents or siblings. The corresponding OR for women were 2.1 (95% CI = 1.5–3.0) and 4.4 (95% CI = 2.4–8.1). We found evidence for synergistic interactions in women exposed to family history of coronary heart disease in combination with current smoking and with a high quotient between low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (>4.0), respectively, which yielded adjusted synergy index scores of 2.9 (95% CI = 1.2–7.2) and 3.8 (95% CI = 1.5–9.7), respectively. Similarly, in men we found evidence for interaction for the co-exposure of family history of coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitus. Our study shows that family history of coronary heart disease is not only a strong risk factor for myocardial infarction in both sexes, but that its effect is synergistic with other cardiovascular risk factors as well.

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