AHA: Novel Factors May Increase Heart Risks in Women

Risks may include history of preterm or small-for-gestational-age birth, bilateral oophorectomy

MONDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Among women, novel cardiovascular disease risk factors may include a history of preterm or small-for-gestational-age birth, and bilateral oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy for benign disease, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention held Mar. 10 to 14 in Palm Harbor, Fla.

In one study, Erik Ingelsson, M.D., Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues studied 1.3 million Swedish women who delivered their first infant between 1973 and 2005. During follow-up they found that, compared with women whose first infant was born normal term and not small, women whose first infant was born preterm or small for gestational age had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. They also found that women whose first infant was born preterm and small for gestational age had up to a tripled risk of cardiovascular disease.

In a second study, William H. Parker, M.D., of the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues studied 29,380 women who underwent hysterectomy, including 16,345 (55.6 percent) who also underwent bilateral oophorectomy. During a 24-year follow-up, they found that bilateral oophorectomy was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality and fatal plus non-fatal coronary heart disease (relative risks, 1.12. 1.17, respectively). The researchers also found that never-users of estrogen who underwent oophorectomy before age 50 had an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and all-cause mortality.

A third study, by Janet M. Catov, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues also found an association between preterm birth and cardiovascular risk. "Associations between a history of preterm birth and later life maternal cardiovascular disease could reflect a common underlying predisposition related to both conditions," Catov and colleagues conclude. "Preterm births may identify women at increased risk for cardiovascular disease who may be amenable to intervention."

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