Exposome in ischaemic heart disease: beyond traditional risk factors

Eur Heart J. 2024 Feb 7;45(6):419-438. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehae001.


Ischaemic heart disease represents the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, typically induced by the detrimental effects of risk factors on the cardiovascular system. Although preventive interventions tackling conventional risk factors have helped to reduce the incidence of ischaemic heart disease, it remains a major cause of death worldwide. Thus, attention is now shifting to non-traditional risk factors in the built, natural, and social environments that collectively contribute substantially to the disease burden and perpetuate residual risk. Of importance, these complex factors interact non-linearly and in unpredictable ways to often enhance the detrimental effects attributable to a single or collection of these factors. For this reason, a new paradigm called the 'exposome' has recently been introduced by epidemiologists in order to define the totality of exposure to these new risk factors. The purpose of this review is to outline how these emerging risk factors may interact and contribute to the occurrence of ischaemic heart disease, with a particular attention on the impact of long-term exposure to different environmental pollutants, socioeconomic and psychological factors, along with infectious diseases such as influenza and COVID-19. Moreover, potential mitigation strategies for both individuals and communities will be discussed.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Ischaemic heart disease; Mental stress; Pollution; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Disease*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Exposome*
  • Humans
  • Morbidity
  • Myocardial Ischemia* / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia* / etiology
  • Risk Factors