Dermatological indicators of coronary risk: a case-control study

Int J Cardiol. 1998 Dec 31;67(3):251-5. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5273(98)00313-1.


Objective: We examined the association of dermatological signs such as baldness, thoracic hairiness, hair greying and diagonal earlobe crease with the risk of myocardial infarction in men under the age of 60 years.

Methods: A hospital-based, case-control study included 842 men admitted for the first non-fatal myocardial infarction, the controls were 712 men admitted with noncardiac diagnoses, without clinical signs of coronary disease. The relative risks were estimated as odds ratios. Logistic regression was used to control for the confounding variables.

Results: Baldness, thoracic hairiness and earlobe crease were approximately 40% more prevalent in cases (P<10(-6) in each case). In both cases and controls, baldness and thoracic hairiness were frequently coexistent, as well as hair greying and earlobe crease (P<10(-4) in each case). After allowing for age and other established coronary risk factors, the relative risk of myocardial infarction for fronto-parietal baldness compared with no hair loss was 1.77 (95% CI 1.27-2.45) and it was 1.83 (95 CI 1.4-2.3) for men with thick, extended thoracic hairiness. The presence of a diagonal earlobe crease yielded a relative risk of 1.37 (95% CI 1.25-1.5), while hair greying was associated with myocardial infarction only in men under the age of 50 years.

Conclusion: It appears that baldness, thoracic hairiness and diagonal earlobe crease indicate an additional risk of myocardial infarction in men under the age of 60 years, independently of age and other established coronary risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging*
  • Alopecia / physiopathology
  • Anthropometry
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Ear, External / physiopathology
  • Hair Color / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin / physiopathology*