Prevalence of emerging cardiovascular risk factors in younger individuals with a family history of premature coronary heart disease and low Framingham risk score

Clin Cardiol. 2008 Nov;31(11):542-5. doi: 10.1002/clc.20355.


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of emerging cardiac risk factors in individuals with a family history of premature coronary heart disease (CHD) and who were predicted to be low-risk for cardiovascular (CV) disease based on their Framingham risk score.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated 89 younger men and women with a family history of premature CHD and who had a low Framingham risk score. Patients with CHD or CHD equivalents were excluded. All patients were screened for emerging clinical and lipid risk factors.

Results: Coronary calcium was present in 38% of patients and C-reactive protein > 3 mg/dl was present in 24% of patients. Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL2) cholesterol were the most prevalent emerging lipid risk factor and was present in 72% of the study group. More individuals had low levels of HDL2 than total HDL (34% versus 71%; p-value =0.001). Triglyceride- (TG)-rich remnant lipoproteins were present in 49% of patients.

Conclusions: The Framingham risk score poorly predicts CV risk in younger healthy persons with a family history of premature CHD. The prevalence of subclinical CHD and emerging clinical and lipid risk factors is high in these patients. The most prevalent lipid risk factor was low levels of HDL2. Individuals with a family history of premature CHD may benefit from screening for emerging risk factors to better assess their CV risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Calcinosis / diagnosis
  • Calcinosis / drug therapy
  • Calcinosis / etiology*
  • Calcinosis / genetics
  • Calcinosis / physiopathology
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • C-Reactive Protein