A positive family history for premature cardiovascular disease identifies patients prone to recurrent arterial thrombotic events
Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is characterized by slow progressive atherosclerosis and arterial thrombotic events, leading to occlusions. Whether either of these presentations is more likely in patients with a genetic predisposition for CVD is still unknown. We suggest that a genetic predisposition for CVD is related to recurrent events of the same nature. Methods: We retrospectively investigated 275 patients with premature CVD and divided them in two groups according to their first event: an arterial thrombotic event or stable atherosclerosis. We used a Cox proportional-hazards model to estimate the effect of a positive family history for CVD on recurrent events of the same nature. This was tested in the entire cohort and in patients with coronary artery disease only.Results: Patients with a first arterial thrombotic event and a positive family history had a threefold increased risk for a recurrent event of the same nature, compared to patients with a nega tive family history (hazard ratio 3.00, 95% confidence interval 1.32-6.81); p < 0.05). In contrast, a positive family history was not associated with an increased risk for a recurrent stable atherosclerosis (hazard ratio 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.59-1.63). These findings were similar analysing the patients with coronary artery disease only. Additional adjustments for other risk factors did not change these associations.Conclusions: Patients with a first premature arterial thrombotic event and a positive family history for CVD have an increased risk for a second event of the same nature. This might be due to unknown hereditary mechanisms leading to recurrent acute events.