Intimal thickening of the coronary arteries in infants in relation to family history of coronary artery disease.
BACKGROUND Intimal thickenings of the coronary arteries of newborn children are composed mainly of smooth muscle cell proliferations. To investigate whether thickening of the intima in infants is associated with a family history of coronary artery disease (CAD), we studied the relation of coronary death of grandparents to intimal thickening of 136 infants.
METHODS AND RESULTS The length of internal elastic lamina of the artery and the areas of arterial layers in cross section were measured, and the arteries were transformed to idealized round circles. Intimal thickening was assessed as the degree of luminal narrowing (ratio of intimal area to the area on the luminal side of the arterial media). Among 136 infants, luminal narrowing varied between 0% and 58%. CAD deaths accounted for 108 of the total 281 deaths among the grandparents of the infants. Family history of CAD (defined as at least one CAD death among the four grandparents) was positive for 77 infants. Family history of CAD was significantly more common in the infants with luminal narrowing of both the left and right coronary arteries compared with the infants with no narrowing in at least one artery (odds ratio adjusted for sex, infection status, and age of infant, 5.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.46-22.2). After adjustment for sex and age, infants with both a positive family history and presence of infection had an increased degree of luminal narrowing compared with infants with a negative family history and no infection.
CONCLUSIONS The association of coronary artery intimal thickening in infancy with family history of CAD suggests that intimal thickening is a morphological manifestation of predisposition to CAD.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association