Familial risk and heritability of ischemic heart disease and stroke in Danish twins

Merete Osler*, Martin Dalgaard Villumsen, Martin Balslev Jørgensen, Jacob V.B. Hjelmborg, Kaare Christensen, Marie Kim Wium-Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Aim: Our aim was to explore whether familial factors influence the risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke, and their co-occurrence. Methods: In total, 23,498 monozygotic and 39,540 same-sex dizygotic twins from the Danish Twin Registry were followed from 1977 to 2011 in the Danish National Patient Registry for ischemic heart disease and stroke. Time-to-event analyses accounting for censoring and competing risk of death were used to estimate familial risk (casewise concordance relative to the cumulative incidence) and heritability of ischemic heart disease, stroke, and the co-occurrence by age. Results: During follow-up, we observed 5561 and 4186 twin individuals with ischemic heart disease and stroke respectively, with 936 twin pairs concordant for ischemic heart disease and stroke. Familial risks were significant for both, with higher cumulative risks in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins. Estimates for heritability were significant for ischemic heart disease as well as for stroke diagnosed after the age of 80. The casewise concordance of ischemic heart disease in twins whose co-twin was diagnosed with stroke did not differ for monozygotic and dizygotic twins; however, from age 55 it was 10% higher than the cumulative risk in the overall twin cohort and was 25% higher at age 90. A similar pattern was seen for stroke following the co-twin’s ischemic heart disease. Conclusions: As in previous studies, we found a higher heritability of ischemic heart disease than of stroke. There was a significant familial risk but no heritability for the co-occurrence of ischemic heart disease and stroke. The co-occurrence is therefore likely due to other shared familial than genetic factors, highlighting that preventive initiatives should target families rather than individuals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
ISSN1403-4948
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

Keywords

  • Familial risk
  • ischemic heart disease
  • stroke
  • twin cohort study

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