Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Myocardial Infarction in the Transgender Population

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2019 Apr;12(4):e005597. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005597.


Background: As of 2016, ≈1.4 million people in the United States identify as transgender. Despite their growing number and increasing specific medical needs, there has been a lack of research on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD risk factors in this population. Recent studies have reported that the transgender population had a significantly higher rate of CVD risk factors without a significant increase in overall CVD morbidity and mortality. These studies are limited by their small sample sizes and their predominant focus on younger transgender populations. With a larger sample size and inclusion of broader age range, our study aims to provide insight into the association between being transgender and cardiovascular risk factors, as well as myocardial infarction.

Methods and results: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 2014 to 2017 were used to evaluate the cross-sectional association between being transgender and the reported history of myocardial infarction and CVD risk factors. A logistic regression model was constructed to study the association between being transgender and myocardial infarction after adjusting for CVD risk factors including age, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, chronic kidney disease, smoking, and exercise. Multivariable analysis revealed that transgender men had a >2-fold and 4-fold increase in the rate of myocardial infarction compared with cisgender men (odds ratio, 2.53; 95% CI, 1.14-5.63; P=0.02) and cisgender women (odds ratio, 4.90; 95% CI, 2.21-10.90; P<0.01), respectively. Conversely, transgender women had >2-fold increase in the rate of myocardial infarction compared with cisgender women (odds ratio, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.78-3.68; P<0.01) but did not have a significant increase in the rate of myocardial infarction compared with cisgender men.

Conclusions: The transgender population had a higher reported history of myocardial infarction in comparison to the cisgender population, except for transgender women compared with cisgender men, even after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; morbidity; myocardial infarction; risk factors; transgender persons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Health*
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Transgender Persons*
  • Transsexualism / diagnosis
  • Transsexualism / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology