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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2013 Nov;26(11):1290-1297.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2013.07.024. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Family history of cardiovascular disease and offspring echocardiographic left ventricular structure and function: the Asklepios Study.

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Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address:



Moderate to small heritability has been observed for left ventricular (LV) structure and function in genetic epidemiology and genomewide association studies. The aim of this study was to explore whether this would be mirrored in an independent association between LV structure and function and a family history (FH) of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a large population of middle-aged adults.


Subjects enrolled in the Asklepios Study, a population-based sample of 2,524 male and female volunteers, aged 35 to 55 years, free of overt CVD at baseline, were studied. LV structure and function were assessed using transthoracic echocardiography (by a single sonographer). FH data spanning 4 generations were acquired using a questionnaire.


In unadjusted analyses, only small effects of FH of CVD on LV structure (relative wall thickness, P = .042; interventricular septal thickness, P = .002; LV mass, P = .038; allometrically adjusted LV mass, P = .014) and diastolic function (mitral annular e', P = .02) were observed. After adjusting for the more adverse risk factor profile associated with FH, no significant associations persisted. These results did not appreciably change using a more extended definition of FH of CVD or FH of hypertension.


A positive FH for CVD was associated with differences in offspring cardiac structure and function, largely mediated by (but not independent from) a more adverse risk profile in those subjects with positive FH.


BP; Blood pressure; CVD; Cardiovascular disease; Echocardiography; FH; Family history; Family history by conventional guidelines-based definition; Family history by extended definition; LV; LVIDd; Left ventricular; Left ventricular function; Left ventricular internal dimension during diastole; Left ventricular structure; PW; Posterior wall; RWT; Relative wall thickness; SBP; Systolic blood pressure; cFH; eFH

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