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J Public Health (Oxf). 2011 Sep;33(3):430-8. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdq093. Epub 2010 Nov 2.

Incidence and prognosis of angina pectoris in South Asians and Whites: 18 years of follow-up over seven phases in the Whitehall-II prospective cohort study.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK.



Whether the higher coronary mortality in South Asians compared with White populations is due to a higher incidence of disease is not known. This study assessed cumulative incidence of chest pain in South Asians and Whites, and prognosis of chest pain.


Over seven phases of 18-year follow-up of the Whitehall-II study (9,775 civil servants: 9,195 White, 580 South Asian), chest pain was assessed using the Rose questionnaire. Coronary death/non-fatal myocardial infarction was examined comparing those with chest pain to those with no chest pain at baseline.


South Asians had higher cumulative frequencies of typical angina by Phase 7 (17.0 versus 11.3%, P < 0.001) and exertional chest pain (15.4 versus 8.5%, P < 0.001) compared with Whites. Typical angina and exertional chest pain at baseline were associated with a worse prognosis compared with those with no chest pain in both groups (typical angina, South Asians: HR, 4.67 and 95% CI, 2.12-0.30; Whites: HR, 3.56 95% CI, 2.59-4.88). Baseline non-exertional chest pain did not confer a worse prognosis. Across all types of pain, prognosis was worse in South Asians.


South Asians had higher cumulative incidence of angina than Whites. In both, typical angina and exertional chest pain were associated with worse prognosis compared with those with no chest pain.

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