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J Hum Hypertens. 1996 Apr;10(4):207-13.

Blood pressure in young adults with and without a paternal history of premature coronary heart disease in Europe: the EARS Study. European Arteriosclerosis Study.

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  • 1Servei Medicina Interna, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan, Facultat de Medicina, Reus, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain.



The European Arteriosclerosis Study (EARS) was designed to identify variables which discriminate subjects with a paternal history of premature coronary heart disease (CHD) from controls and to study the distribution of these variables across Europe. In this article we report on the blood pressure (BP) data.


Comparison of young individuals (18 to 26 years) from 14 different European universities with and without paternal history of premature (before 55) myocardial infarction (MI).


1994 university students were recruited, 682 with a positive paternal history of premature MI (cases) and 1312 age and sex-matched controls. Following a rigid fieldwork and analyses protocol, data on life style, BP, anthropometric and analytical measurements were obtained.


Only diastolic BP in female patients was different between cases and controls (P < 0.05). A significantly higher prevalence of high BP personal history in male cases than in controls was observed (P < 0.02). BP means showed significant regional differences with higher values in the northern and middle European countries respect to southern regions (P < 0.0001). BP values were positively correlated to body mass index (BMI) and waist to hip (W/H) ratio, no correlations were observed with alcohol consumption in this age group. Tobacco showed a negative independent correlation with both systolic and diastolic BP (P < 0.0001). The use of contraceptive pills was associated with higher systolic (P < 0.0001) and diastolic (P < 0.05) BP levels. After adjustment for covariants, only weak correlations were observed between BP, lipids and apolipoproteins. Apo E showed a positive correlation with BP. Lp(a) and fibrinogen showed no significant regression coefficients with BP. Among cholesterylesters, oleic acid percentages were negatively correlated to BP values (mainly diastolic BP: P < 0.001), while the correlation with linoleic acid was positive (P < 0.001). Fasting glucose levels showed an independent correlation with systolic BP (P < 0.0001) in a multiple regression analysis.


In the group with paternal history of premature MI, the higher prevalence of personal history of high BP in males and the higher diastolic BP values in females suggest that high BP could play a role in the elevated CHD risk of this group. Epidemiological observations on BP distribution and its relation with anthropometric and biochemical covariants in a young group of age from different European countries are reported.

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