Risk factors in siblings of people with premature coronary heart disease

Diane M. Becker, Lewis C. Becker, Thomas A. Pearson, Dan J. Fintel, David M. Levine, Peter O. Kwiterovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior studies of the contribution of coronary disease risk factors to familial aggregation of premature coronary disease may have underestimated risk factors by relying on self-reported risk factor prevalence levels or, when risk factors have been measured, by using cut points in excess of the 90th percentile. To determine the actual prevalence of hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes, and the awareness of these coronary risk factors in unaffected family members, 150 apparently coronary disease-free siblings of 86 people who had documented coronary disease before 60 years of age were studied. All subjects participated in a 1 day screening preceded by a self-administered risk factor questionnaire and a personal interview. Participation of both the index patients and siblings exceeded 86%. With the use of nationally established recommendations for blood pressure and lipids, which are based on coronary disease risk curves, screening revealed that 48% of brothers and 41% of sisters were hypertensive, 45% of brothers and 22% of sisters had a lipid abnormality, 38% of siblings were current cigarette smokers and 4,7% were diabetic. Two or more risk factors were present in 42% of brothers and 26% of sisters. More than 75% of siblings had one or more risk factors that would require intervention. When compared with a race-, gender- and age-matched reference population from the Lipid Research Clinics Prevalence Study, distributions for Mood pressure and for total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol were higher for the siblings in every gender and age group. Siblings were generally unaware of the presence of risk factors; only 43% of hypertensive siblings and 27% of siblings with lipid abnormalities were aware of these risk factors. Previously undetected risk factors were highly prevalent in siblings of people with premature coronary disease. These data support current national recommendations for comprehensive risk factor screening in this easily identifiable high risk family group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1280
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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