Parental age and coronary disease in the general male population

J Intern Med. 2002 Mar;251(3):258-67. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.2002.00954.x.


Objective: To investigate the role of achieved age in father or mother for long-term prognosis in men with respect to fatal and nonfatal coronary events, and mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes.

Design: Prospective follow-up study.

Setting: City of Göteborg, Sweden.

Subjects: A total of 6242 men aged 51-59 out of 7100 men who took part in the second screening of the Primary Prevention Study in 1974-77 and who had stated the age of both mother and father at death, or their current age, if they were still alive.

Main outcome measures: Fatal and nonfatal coronary events, and mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes during follow-up until 1996.

Results: Of the men (n=2135) whose father had died before the age of 70, 8.4 per 1000 observation years died from coronary disease during follow-up. Coronary mortality decreased continuously with increasing age in the father and in those whose father had achieved an age of 90 or more 3.2 per 1000 years died [hazard ratio (HR) after adjustment for coronary risk factors, socio-economic status, and history of myocardial infarction in either parent, 0.41 (95% CI 0.23-0.73; P for trend <0.0001)]. This was reflected in reduced risk of mortality from any cause (P for trend after adjustment 0.003). No association with cancer death was found. With respect to hospitalization for myocardial infarction men whose father had survived to at least 90 had an adjusted HR of 0.60 (0.40-0.89) compared with men whose father died before 70 (P for trend 0.0006). The effect of achieved age in the mother was weaker and after adjustment trends were weakly significant for death from cardiovascular and all causes (P=0.01 and 0.03, respectively), but not for any other end-point.

Conclusion: Paternal, but not maternal, longevity appears to protect against coronary disease, by mechanisms that are largely unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Longevity*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Parents*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors