Plasma fibrinogen level is not elevated in young adults from families with premature ischemic heart disease.
Several epidemiological studies have found that the plasma fibrinogen level is a risk factor for ischemic heart disease (IHD), similar in importance to the serum cholesterol level. A family history of IHD is also a significant risk factor for IHD, statistically independent of the serum cholesterol level. Whether the familial risk for IHD is related to genetic control of the fibrinogen level is unknown. Estimates of the genetic contribution to the variance in plasma fibrinogen levels vary markedly. We previously found elevated levels of cholesterol and factor VII in young subjects with a familial history of premature IHD. In the present study we chose to measure fibrinogen, factor VII antigen, and total cholesterol levels in 43 asymptomatic first-degree relatives (< 50 years old) of patients with premature IHD and in 43 age- and sex-matched asymptomatic young adults at low risk of IHD. No subjects in either group were smokers. The mean plasma fibrinogen level of the high-risk group (259 mg/dL) did not differ significantly from that of the low-risk group (250 mg/dL; p > 0.4). In contrast, the high-risk group had significantly higher mean factor VII antigen (p < 0.001) and mean serum cholesterol (p < 0.0001) than the low-risk group. These data argue against the hypothesis that genetic determination of the plasma fibrinogen level is a common pathophysiological mechanism responsible for familial risk of IHD.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association