Background: It was hypothesized that among eight national groups of men aged 40-59 years enrolled in the Seven Countries Study, the multivariate coefficients of major risk factors predicting coronary heart disease mortality over 25 years would be relatively similar.
Materials and methods: Sixteen cohorts were located in eight nations and pooled, comprising one cohort in the USA, two in Finland, one in the Netherlands, three in Italy, two in Croatia (former Yugoslavia), three in Serbia (Yugoslavia), two in Greece and two in Japan, for a total of over 12000 subjects at entry. Coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality was defined as fatal myocardial infarction or sudden coronary death, and proportional hazard models were solved, for each country, with age, serum cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure and cigarette consumption as covariates.
Results: The relationships between risk factors and CHD mortality were statistically significant for all risk factors and for all countries, except for age in Croatia and Japan, cholesterol in Croatia and Japan, systolic blood pressure in Serbia and Greece, and cigarette-smoking in the Netherlands, Croatia, Serbia and Greece. When comparing all pairs of coefficients (28 comparisons for each factor) significant differences were found on four occasions for age, on six occasions for cholesterol, on no occasion for blood pressure and on four occasions for cigarette-smoking. Other tests suggested a substantial homogeneity among multivariate coefficients. Estimates for pooled coefficients were: age, in years, 0.0570 (95% confidence limits 0.0465 and 0.0673); relative risk for 5 years 1.33 (95% confidence limits 1.26 and 1.40); serum cholesterol level in mg/dl, 0.0057 (95% confidence limits 0.0045 and 0.0069); relative risk for 40 mg/dl 1.31 (95% confidence limits 1.20 and 1.31); systolic blood pressure in mmHg, 0.0160, (95% confidence limits 0.0134 and 0.0185), relative risk for 20 mmHg 1.38 (95% confidence limits 1.31 and 1.45); cigarettes per day, 0.0220 (95% confidence limits 0.0170 and 0.0272); relative risk for 10 cigarettes per day 1.25 (95% confidence limits 1.18 and 1.31).
Conclusions: Great similarities were found in the multivariate coefficients of major coronary risk factors to CHD risk derived from population samples varying in CHD frequency.