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AHA: secondhand tobacco smoke ups atherosclerosis risk

In asymptomatic never smokers, the extent of secondhand tobacco smoke (SHTS) exposure is associated with the presence and extent of atherosclerosis, according to a study published online Nov. 13 in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. The research was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in New Orleans.

David F. Yankelevitz, M.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues administered a questionnaire to 268 never smokers, ages 40 to 80 years, assessing risk factors and extent of lifetime SHTS exposure. The participants also underwent low-dose non-gated computed tomographic scans, followed by computed tomographic angiography.

The researchers found that 48 percent of participants had coronary atherosclerosis, and it was more frequent with low-to-moderate and high versus minimal SHTS exposure (48 and 69 versus 25 percent; P < 0.0001). For any atherosclerosis, the adjusted odds ratios were 2.1 (P = 0.05) and 3.5 (P = 0.01) for low-to-moderate and high, respectively, versus minimal SHTS exposure. With increasing SHTS exposure there was an increase in the percentage of major vessels with any plaque or stenosis (P = 0.0013) and in the number with five or more involved segments (P = 0.0001).

“The presence and extent of atherosclerosis were associated with the extent of SHTS exposure even when adjusted for other risk factors, further demonstrating the causal relationship of SHTS exposure and coronary disease,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed patents relating to the research subject matter.

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