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Atherosclerosis. 2009 Apr;203(2):599-603. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.07.027. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

Low occurrence of ischemic heart disease among Inuit around 1963 suggested from ECG among 1851 East Greenland Inuit.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Queen Ingrids Hospital, Nuuk, Greenland.



The prevalence of coronary heart disease among Greenland Inuit today is similar to that of western populations. The cardiovascular risk profile among Inuit has changed over the past four decades with the introduction of a western life style. An unaltered prevalence of coronary heart disease has been proposed, but no pre-westernisation data exist.


To describe pre-westernisation prevalence of coronary heart disease among East Greenland Inuit.


A population study of 1851 Inuit living in East Greenland was conducted in 1962-1964. It included ECG, cardiac auscultation and recording of symptoms. ECGs were evaluated for ischemic signs, arrhythmia, hypertrophy, and conduction abnormalities.


The participation rate was 97%. A12-lead ECG was performed in 181 adults, including 65% of men aged 40 years and above. Hypertrophy was seen in 15% and peaked in 30-39 year olds. Pathological conduction disturbances were seen in 4% and 1% had ischemic signs. The age-standardised prevalence of ischemic ECG findings was 5.5%. Abnormal ECG findings did not correlate with pathologic findings on cardiac auscultation or symptoms related to heart disease.


Hypertrophy peaked among 30 years olds. Ischemic ECG findings were present in East Greenland Inuit before westernisation, the prevalence clearly lower than today.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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