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Atherosclerosis. 2012 Apr;221(2):451-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.01.033. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Family history does not predict angiographic localization or severity of coronary artery disease.

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Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.



Family history of MI is an established risk factor for coronary artery disease and subclinical atherosclerosis. Maternal MI and maternal stroke are more common in females than males presenting with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), suggesting sex-specific heritability, but the effects of family history on location and extent of coronary artery disease are unknown.


In a prospective, population-based study (Oxford Vascular Study) of all patients with ACS, family history data for stroke and MI were analysed by sex of proband and affected first degree relatives (FDRs), and coronary angiograms were reviewed, where available.


Of 835 probands with one or more ACS, 623 (420 males) had incident events and complete family history data. 351 patients with incident events (56.3%; 266 males) underwent coronary angiography. Neither angiographic disease localization nor severity were associated with sex-of-parent/sex-of-offspring in men or women.


Sex-specific family history data do not predict angiographic localization of coronary disease in patients presenting with ACS. Maternal stroke and maternal MI probably affect ACS in females by a mechanism unrelated to atherosclerosis or coronary anatomy. However, family history data may still be useful in risk prediction and prognosis of ACS.

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