Aortic and coronary atherosclerosis in the finnish population A study of a series of violent deaths

  • Viljo Rissanen
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to Viljo Rissanen, Second Department of Medicine, University Central Hospital, 00290 Helsinki 29 Finland.
    Department of Forensic Medicine and the Second Department of Medicine, the University of Helsinki, Helsinki Finland
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  • Kalevi Pyörälä
    Department of Forensic Medicine and the Second Department of Medicine, the University of Helsinki, Helsinki Finland
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      The prevalence and extent of atherosclerosis in the thoracic and abdominal aortas and in the coronary arteries was assessed in a Finnish autopsy series of violent deaths, 236 males and 86 females. The absolute and percentage areas of raised atherosclerotic lesions were measured using the point-counting technique.
      Raised lesions were first observed in the aorta and the coronary arteries of males at the age of 15 to 24 years, in females in the aorta at the same age but in the coronary arteries about 10 years later. No sex difference was found in the prevalence or relative extent of aortic raised lesions. In the coronary arteries a tendency towards a sex difference was observed in all succeeding age groups; the difference was significant in age groups 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 years.
      The severity of atherosclerotic involvement in the present series was compared to that found in the five population samples included in the International Atherosclerosis Project8 by calculating the unweighted mean for the mean values of the percentage areas involved by raised lesions in the thoracic and abdominal aortas and three coronary arteries in 10-year age groups of males and females aged 25 to 64 years. The unweighted mean in the present series was 15.0%, which is somewhat lower than the result obtained in the International Atherosclerosis Project for U.S.A. whites (18.3 %) and Norwegians (17.8 %) and slightly higher than the unweighted mean for U.S.A. Negroes (14.5 %), but clearly higher than the unweighted means for Puerto Rico whites (9.6 %) and Durban Bantus (6.2 %).


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