, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 301-310
Date: 04 Nov 2012

Screening results for subclinical coronary artery calcification in asymptomatic individuals in relation to a detailed parental history of premature coronary heart disease

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A parental history of premature coronary heart disease (CHD) is an established risk factor for CHD events in descendants. The study aim was to investigate whether subclinical coronary artery calcification (CAC) differs between asymptomatic individuals (a) without a parental CHD history, (b) with a parental history and (c) without knowledge of parental CHD history. The inclusion of individuals without knowledge of parental CHD history is a new approach. We also differentiated between CHD of mother and father to gain insight into their individual contributions. Data was obtained for 4,301 subjects aged 45–75 years free of overt CHD from the baseline screening of the population-based Heinz Nixdorf Recall study. CAC, measured by electron-beam computed tomography, was modeled conducting logistic regressions. Model 1 included family history, Model 2 was adjusted for age (and gender) and Model 3 added common CHD risk factors. The CAC score was dichotomized using the age and sex-specific 75th percentile. The odds ratio (OR) for CAC ≥ age and sex-specific 75th percentile was 1.33 among individuals with parental premature CHD history (95 % confidence interval [95 %CI]: 1.08, 1.63), which did not change after full adjustment (OR 1.40, 95 %CI: 1.13, 1.74). Individuals with an unknown biological father or mother had a high chance of elevated CAC scores (fully adjusted; father: OR 1.38, 95 %CI: 1.01, 1.90, mother: OR 1.86, 95 %CI: 0.90, 3.84) compared to the reference group. The current study showed an association between parental CHD history and CAC independent of common CHD risk factors. This association affirms the use of parental CHD history in cardiovascular risk assessment among asymptomatic adults in routine practice. The observation that individuals who did not know their mother or father are prone to increased CAC scores needs further confirmation in large scale studies.

This study was conducted on behalf of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Investigative Group.