Purpose: To examine the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events in subjects of the Framingham Study reporting new chest discomfort.
Subjects and methods: Original cohort subjects with chest discomfort were classified by their history into three groups: definite angina, possible angina, or nonanginal chest discomfort. Subjects were followed for 2 years for CHD events, including coronary insufficiency, myocardial infarction, or CHD death.
Results: Compared to that in subjects without chest discomfort, the relative odds of a CHD event was 3.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.11, 6.60) in men with definite angina and 3.0 (95% CI 1.33, 6.69) in men with possible angina. Comparable increased CHD risk was also observed in women with definite or possible angina, with relative odds of 5.4 (95% CI 3.08, 9.30) and 2.9 (95% CI 1.13, 7.17), respectively. The increase in CHD risk associated with definite or possible angina persisted after adjustment for cardiac risk factor profile. There was no increase in risk associated with nonanginal chest discomfort.
Conclusion: CHD risk is increased in subjects with new chest discomfort that on the basis of history is consistent with definite or possible angina, whereas CHD risk is not increased in subjects with nonanginal chest discomfort. The presence of chest discomfort and its characteristics facilitate the classification of subjects into meaningful categories that offer prognostic information beyond that provided by traditional CHD risk factors.