Carotid arteriosclerosis in identical twins discordant for cigarette smoking.
From a nationwide twin panel, identical twin pairs with highest discordance in cigarette smoking were selected for a study of arteriosclerosis (49 pairs with a mean age of 52 years). Smoking history was obtained in 1975, 1981, and 1986. The mean life-long smoking dose of the smoking cotwins was 20 package-years. The smoking and nonsmoking cotwins had similar systolic and diastolic blood pressures, total plasma cholesterol level, body mass index, and some psychosocial factors; the only difference was found in use of alcohol, which was greater among smoking cotwins. Duplex sonography of carotid arteries was performed. Carotid artery stenoses (narrowing of area of the lumen with 15-60%) were found in nine pairs: in nine smoking twins and in two of their nonsmoking cotwins (p = 0.036). The total area of carotid plaques was 3.2 times larger in smoking cotwins (p less than 0.001). The thickness of the inner layer of carotid arteries was more marked in smoking cotwins (p less than 0.001). The size of plaques and the degree of inner layer thickening correlated with the dose of smoking (NS). The association of smoking with carotid arteriosclerosis was highly significant even after the adjustment for age, total plasma cholesterol level, diastolic blood pressure, and body mass index in multiple logistic regression analyses.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association