Department of Medicine Publications

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Archives of Medical Science





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Introduction: The hypothesis that relates atherosclerosis to traditional risk factors (TRF) seems to be not as adequate as previously thought; other risk factors (RF) need to be considered to prevent atherosclerosis progression. Although a family medical history of premature cardiovascular events (FHx) has been considered the putative RF for decades, it has not been incorporated routinely into cardiovascular risk evaluation along with another RF. The objective of this study was to investigate whether FHx is associated with a higher atherosclerotic burden, measured as carotid total plaque area (TPA) in a population having no traditional RF. Material and methods: The study included 4,351 primary care patients in Argentina. After excluding a personal history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and TRF: Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, smoking history, and body mass index (BMI) > 25 kg/cm2, 34 patients with FHx were identified. Compared to 56 matched controls TPA was 86% higher in FHx patients (p < 0.05). A second analysis performed in hypertensive patients but no other TRF; 32 patients with FHx were identified. Results: Compared with 44 matched controls, TPA was 77% higher in FHx patients (p < 0.05). A final analysis using a generalized linear model with TPA progression as the response variable suggests that TPA progresses more rapidly in FHx patients compared to controls. Conclusions: The FHx was associated with increased TPA burden and progression in the absence of other TRF. This supports ultrasound screening in FHx patients in order to detect high-risk patients who may benefit from early intervention.



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