Mother’s stroke history ‘can help predict daughter’s heart attack risk’

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WASHINGTON - A new research has suggested that a mother’s stroke history can help predict her daughter’s risk of heart attack.

If you’re a woman and your mother had a stroke, you may have a risk of heart attack in addition to a higher risk of stroke, according to the new study on family history and heart disease.

In a study of more than 2,200 patients, female heart patients were more likely to have mothers who had suffered a stroke than fathers who did.

“Our study results point towards sex-specific heritability of vascular disease across different arterial territories - namely coronary and cerebral artery territories,” said Amitava Banerjee, the study’s lead author at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The Oxford Vascular Study included patients who had suffered a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), or had experienced a heart attack or chest pain known as unstable angina.

About 24 percent of the heart attack and angina patients, and roughly the same percentage of the stroke patients, had at least one first-degree relative who had a history of stroke.

This indicates that stroke history in these relatives - which included siblings and parents - is as important to a person’s risk of heart attack or angina as it is to risk of stroke, Banerjee said.

The female patients who had heart attacks or unstable angina, conditions known collectively as acute coronary syndromes, were more likely to have had any female relative than any male first-degree relatives with stroke history.

Parents’ stroke history didn’t help predict where patients’ heart disease showed up on coronary angiography, or whether disease was present in multiple blood vessels.

This suggests that whatever family influence is occurring doesn’t directly affect the heart’s anatomy or dictate where dangerous plaques build up in the coronary arteries. Instead, family history might influence a more general tendency toward thrombosis, or clot production.

The new findings can’t be attributed to genetics alone because shared environmental factors such as relatives’ wealth or poverty can also influence disease risk, Banerjee said.

The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. (ANI)

Filed under: Heart Disease

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