Atherosclerosis in native Greenlanders. An ultrasonographic investigation

Arctic Med Res. 1990 Jul;49(3):151-6.


A low frequency of ischemic heart disease in Eskimos (Inuit) has been regarded as an expression of absent or low atherosclerosis. The true extent of atherosclerosis in the Eskimo populations of the World is not known due to low autopsy activity. In order to register atherosclerotic changes in the carotid and femoral arteries 61 Native Greenlanders from two settlements with a traditional Eskimo life style in the Uummannaq district of Northwestern Greenland were examined ultrasonographically with a portable scanner (Aloka) using a 7.5 MHz 4 cm linear array transducer. The results obtained were compared to an age and sex matched urban control group of 122 Danes from Copenhagen. The investigation showed that the Native Greenlanders had almost the same degree and extent of atherosclerosis in the carotid and femoral arteries as the Danes. Thus, the low incidence of ischemic heart disease in Native Greenlanders may not be attributed to lesser atherosclerosis. Further studies, particularly autopsy studies are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arteriosclerosis / ethnology
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Denmark / ethnology
  • Femoral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Greenland / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Inuit*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography