Are Varicose Veins a Marker for Susceptibility to Coronary Heart Disease in Men? Results from the Normative Aging Study
Clinical observations suggest that varicose veins (VV) are less frequent in patients undergoing infrainguinal bypass surgery for femoral artery occlusive disease. While some previous studies support this relationship, others report that VV are more prevalent in coronary heart disease patients (CHD). This study used the Normative Aging Study (NAS) population to examine the association between VV and symptomatic CHD. The incidence of CHD over 35 years of follow-up was determined in the 2280 initially healthy male volunteers enrolled in the NAS. The incidence of CHD in the VV population and the subjects without VV were compared using Kaplan-Meier survival curves and the log-rank test. A time-dependent proportional hazards regression method was used to further explore the relationship between VV disease and subsequent development of CHD after adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors. A total of 569 subjects (24.9%) were diagnosed with VV prior to the development of symptomatic CHD, and 1708 (75.1%) were not. Over 35 years of follow-up, 98 subjects with VV developed symptomatic CHD (17.2%), while 363 of those without VV subsequently developed symptomatic CHD (21.2%). Kaplan-Meier survival curves suggested a reduced risk of symptomatic CHD for subjects with VV (p = 0.0001). Further exploration of this relationship in a proportional hazards multivariate model showed VV to be associated with a 36% decreased risk of symptomatic CHD after adjusting for other recognized cardiovascular risk factors. In the NAS population, men with VV were less likely to develop symptomatic CHD over the 35+ years of follow-up than were subjects without VV.
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