Objective: To examine the relationships between finger and palm print (dermatoglyphic) features and, first, the presence or absence of hypertension, and, secondly, blood pressure levels in non-hypertensive subjects.
Methods: Prints were available from 841 male World War II veteran twins (393 pairs, 55 individual cotwins), who were born in the USA between 1917 and 1927 and examined three different times between 1969 and 1987. At each examination the hypertensive status was assessed by blood pressure measurement, use of antihypertensive medications and two physicians' diagnostic impressions.
Results: Subjects defined as hypertensive did not differ in dermatoglyphics from non-hypertensives for any trait examined. There were 60 twin-pairs discordant for hypertension; hypertensive cotwins showed lower ridge counts on the left hand, and this relationship was the opposite of what has previously been reported. Using only normotensive subjects at all three examinations, there was little consistent relationship between blood pressures (adjusted for age, body mass and alcohol consumption) and various dermatoglyphic features, except for lower palmar a-b ridge count in those with higher systolic blood pressure.
Conclusions: Unless the in utero development of dermatoglyphics in relation to blood pressure is substantially different between singleton and twin pregnancies, there are no useful relationships between dermatoglyphics and hypertension or strong relationships between the presence of certain 'dermatoglyphic markers of impaired fetal development' and blood pressure in subjects who remain normotensive until early in their seventh decade.