Blood platelet count and function are related to total and cardiovascular death in apparently healthy men.
BACKGROUND Experimental animal and clinical studies indicate that blood platelets have an important role in atherosclerosis and formation of thrombi. Prospective studies presenting evidence of an association between blood platelet count and cardiovascular mortality have not been performed.
METHODS AND RESULTS From 1973 to 1975, blood platelets were counted, and their responsiveness to aggregating agents was studied in healthy middle-aged men. The aim was to assess the possible association between these variables and coronary heart disease. At 13.5 years of follow up, a significantly higher coronary heart disease mortality was observed among the 25% of subjects with the highest platelet counts. Platelet aggregation performed in a random subsample (150 of the 487 men), moreover, revealed that the 50% with the most rapid aggregation response after ADP stimulation had significantly increased coronary heart disease mortality compared with the others. These associations could not be explained by differences in age, lipids, blood pressure, or smoking habits.
CONCLUSIONS The present study is the first to present conclusive, prospective evidence of an association between platelet concentration and aggregability and long-term incidence of fatal coronary heart disease in a population of apparently healthy middle-aged men.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association