1. Internal Medicine, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
2. Department of Cardiology, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
3. Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
4. Nursing, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
5. Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA, USA.
6. Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
Background: Acute myocardial infarction is a relatively rare phenomenon in the young population. The incidence has nevertheless increased from years past, likely due to the presence of multiple risk factors from an increasingly younger age. Regardless of whether they have atherosclerotic coronary artery disease or normal coronary angiogram, young patients with risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD), chest pain, and positive troponin, are initially treated in a similar fashion. Our goal was to shed light on whether risk factors between these two groups differ to help guide physicians in clinically determining whether or not an atherosclerotic cardiovascular event has occurred, as well as to potentially identify young patients at risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) despite normal coronary arteries.
Methods: A retrospective cross sectional study was undertaken over an 8 year period at Tawam Hospital. 576 patients aged 50 or under who underwent coronary angiography were selected for the study. Medical records were analyzed for the patient's demographics and CAD risk factor profile, including the following variables: family history of CAD, smoking status, Body Mass Index category, lipid profile, and diagnosis of hyperlipidemia, diabetes, or hypertension. Details of the coronary angiogram were also reviewed.
Results: Statistically significant outcomes included a higher prevalence of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking history in patients with CAD compared to the patients with normal coronary angiogram. Diabetes was one of the strongest risk factors in CAD patients, with an odds ratio of 1.98 (p= 0.011), followed by hyperlipidemia at 1.85 (p= 0.021). Smoking history had an odds ratio of 2.93 (p <0.001).
Conclusion: Risk factors were present in both groups, but significantly more in the CAD group. No particular risk factor stood out for the development of ACS in those with normal coronary arteries, other than mean BMI being slightly higher in this group. Based on our analysis, no single variable can accurately predict the risk for ACS in normal coronaries. To our knowledge, few studies have been done in the young population with angiographically normal coronary arteries to determine possible risk factors for development of ACS. Further research needs to be done to determine whether the risk factors that were common amongst both groups are coincidental, or a cause of ACS in those with normal coronary arteries.
Keywords: young, acute coronary syndrome (ACS), coronary artery disease (CAD), coronary angiography, risk factors