Short stature is associated with coronary heart disease: a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis

Eur Heart J. 2010 Jul;31(14):1802-9. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq155. Epub 2010 Jun 8.


Aims: The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between short stature and coronary heart disease (CHD) morbidity and mortality.

Methods and results: We performed a systematic search from MEDLINE, PREMEDLINE, and All EBM Reviews as well as from a reference list of relevant articles. We used SPICO (Study design, Patient, Intervention, Control-intervention, Outcome) criteria. The methodological quality of studies was analysed by modified Borghoust criteria. From a total of 1907 articles, we selected 52 studies comprising population-based follow-up studies and patient cohorts followed after a CHD event, as well as case-control studies with height either as a continuous or categorical variable, totalling 3 012 747 individuals. The short ones were below 160.5 cm and tall ones over 173.9 cm on average. Among the shortest height category, the relative risks were 1.35 (95% CI 1.25-1.44) for all-cause mortality, 1.55 (1.37-1.74) for all cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, 1.49 (1.33-1.67) for CHD, and 1.52 (1.28-1.81) for myocardial infarction when compared with those within the highest height category. The mean relative risk was 1.46 (1.37-1.55). Short stature was associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in both genders.

Conclusion: The relationship between short stature and CVD appears to be a real one. On the basis of comparison, adults within the shortest category had an approximately 50% higher risk of CHD morbidity and mortality than tall individuals.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors