Factor VIII, ABO blood group and the incidence of ischaemic heart disease

Br J Haematol. 1994 Nov;88(3):601-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.1994.tb05079.x.


Relations of factor VIII activity, FVIIIC, and von Willebrand factor antigen (vWFAg), with ischaemic heart disease (IHD) were examined in 1393 men aged between 40 and 64 years at entry to the Northwick Park Heart Study (NPHS) who experienced 178 first major episodes of IHD during an average follow-up period of 16.1 years. After allowing for the large factor VIII differences between the main ABO blood groups, FVIIIC was probably associated with IHD incidence, possibly more strongly with fatal than non-fatal episodes. Thus, an increase of 1 standard deviation in FVIIIC raised the risk of fatal IHD by about 28%. vWFAg was also significantly associated with fatal events. The observed relation of FVIIIC with IHD incidence probably underestimates the true strength of the association because of the considerable within-person and laboratory variability in factor VIII measurements. FVIIIC and vWFAg were strongly correlated (r = 0.57) and in statistical terms there may be little to choose between them in long-term studies of IHD. Taking account of evidence that haemophiliacs seem to experience less IHD than expected, high factor VIII levels may contribute to the incidence of IHD by increasing thrombogenic potential. The incidence of IHD was significantly higher in those of blood group AB than in those of groups O, A or B, particularly for fatal events. There was no evidence that the FVIIIC and vWFAg associations with IHD are determined by ABO group. The factor VIII and ABO blood group effects therefore appeared to be independent. Group AB may be a genetic marker of characteristics influencing other indices of IHD risk such as short stature, NPHS men (though not women) of group AB being about 2 cm shorter than those of other groups.

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System*
  • Adult
  • England / epidemiology
  • Factor VIII* / analysis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / blood*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / immunology
  • Risk Factors
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis
  • von Willebrand Factor / immunology


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Factor VIII