Objective: To determine the long-term coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in women and men with symptoms, according to the Rose Angina Questionnaire at a relatively young age.
Design: Cohort study with the baseline survey conducted during 1974-8. Information on symptoms was collected by a short, three-item version of the Rose Angina Questionnaire. Participants were re-invited to a similar survey five years later and followed for mortality throughout 2000.
Setting: Three counties in Norway (the Norwegian Counties Study).
Participants: 16 616 men and 16 265 women aged 40-49 years and denying CHD in 1974-8.
Main outcome measure: CHD mortality during 23 years.
Results: By the end of follow-up 1316 men (7.9%) and 310 women (1.9%) had died from CHD, including 16% (66/406) of men and 4% (24/563) of women with Rose angina in 1974-8. Rose angina implied an elevated mortality from CHD with adjusted hazard ratios 1.50 (95% CI 1.16 to 1.93) in men and 1.98 (95% CI 1.30 to 3.02) in women. According to calculations based on the Cox model these increases in risk are similar to those associated with elevations of total cholesterol by 1.8 mmol/l (men) and 2.5 mmol/l (women) or elevations of systolic blood pressure by 21 mm Hg (men) or 31 mm Hg (women).
Conclusions: Angina symptoms in ages as low as 40-49 years were associated with elevated long-term CHD mortality in Norwegian women and men. This indicates that the three-item version of the Rose Angina Questionnaire, although a screening tool rather than a diagnostic test, adds information on undiagnosed CHD in both sexes.