Haemophilia carriers have a reduced risk of ischaemic heart disease
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Decreased blood clotting protects mothers of haemophiliacs against ischaemic heart disease claim researchers in this week's issue of THE LANCET.
Clotting has a key role in ischaemic heart disease, and reduced clotting protects against the disease. Haemophilia, a genetic clotting disorder, mainly affects men and causes reduced blood clotting. Women act as genetic carriers of the disease, and can also have reduced blood clotting, although this is less severe than in men.
To test whether a mild reduction in blood clotting protects against ischaemic heart disease, Frits Rosendaal and colleagues from Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands, investigated more than a thousand mothers of people with haemophilia living in the Netherlands. The women were followed-up until death or the end of the study. The researchers compared overall and cause-specific mortality in these women with that in the general Dutch female population.
Not only did the women have a much lower risk of ischaemic heart disease (36% fewer than expected for a general female population), but also the percentage of overall deaths was 22% less than predicted.
Professor Rosendaal comments: "Results of this investigation show that the mild decrease in blood coagulation that haemophilia carriers have affects the risk of heart attacks. This finding re-emphasises the role of clotting, and changes in clotting, in the development of myocardial infarction, which may in the future have implications for prevention of this disease" (author quote by e-mail; does not appear in published article)
Contact: Professor FR Rosendaal, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, C9-P, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands; T) 31-71-526-4037; F) 31-71-526-6994; E) F.R.Rosendaal.lumc.nl; Dr Alexandr Sramek, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden, Netherlands; T) 31-6-505-21-759