Effect of family history on the risk of varicose veins is affected by differential misclassification

J Clin Epidemiol. 2010 Jun;63(6):686-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2009.10.003. Epub 2010 Jan 8.


Objective: We assessed differential misclassification in self-reported family history of varicose veins by comparing consistency of subject's own varicose vein status and the consistency of information on varicose veins in family members.

Study design and setting: A population-based cohort study of 4,903 middle-aged residents of the city of Tampere, Finland. A questionnaire was used at entry and at the end of the 5-year follow-up.

Results: The estimated prevalence of positive family history of varicose veins varied depending on subject's own varicose veins from odds ratio (OR) 0.14 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.01-0.58), in those with varicose veins reported in the first but not the second survey to OR 6.0 (95% CI=2.0-47.8), in those with varicose veins reported in the second survey but not in the first. The incidence of varicose veins varied from 0.4 (95% CI=0.1-1.4) to 4.1 (95% CI=2.1-7.1) (per 100 person-years) depending how the proband memorized the family history.

Conclusion: Results on the effect of family history on varicose veins are subject to bias, which reduces the credibility of the reports proposing a strong hereditary component of varicose veins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment / classification
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Varicose Veins / epidemiology*
  • Varicose Veins / genetics