Thromb Haemost 2007; 98(03): 648-655
DOI: 10.1160/TH07-01-0024
Cardiovascular Biology and Cell Signalling
Schattauer GmbH

Cardiovascular risk factors and global risk of fatal cardiovascular disease are positively correlated between partners of 802 married couples from different European countries

Report from the IMMIDIET project
Augusto Di Castelnuovo
1   Research Laboratories, “John Paul II” Centre for High Technology Research and Education in Biomedical Sciences, Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy
Gianni Quacquaruccio
1   Research Laboratories, “John Paul II” Centre for High Technology Research and Education in Biomedical Sciences, Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy
Arnout Jozef
2   Centre for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Francesco Paolo Cappuccio
3   Clinical Sciences Research Institute, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, United Kingdom
Michel de Lorgeril
4   Nutrition, Vieillissement et Maladies Cardiovasculaires (NVMCV), UFR de Médecine, Domaine de la Merci, La Tronche, France
Carla Dirckx
2   Centre for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Maria Benedetta Donati
1   Research Laboratories, “John Paul II” Centre for High Technology Research and Education in Biomedical Sciences, Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy
Vittorio Krogh
5   Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, National Cancer Institute, Milan, Italy
Alfonso Siani
6   Unit of Epidemiology & Population Genetics, Institute of Food Sciences, CNR, Avellino, Italy
Marten C. J. M. van Dongen
7   Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Francesco Zito
1   Research Laboratories, “John Paul II” Centre for High Technology Research and Education in Biomedical Sciences, Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy
Giovanni de Gaetano
1   Research Laboratories, “John Paul II” Centre for High Technology Research and Education in Biomedical Sciences, Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy
Licia Iacoviello
1   Research Laboratories, “John Paul II” Centre for High Technology Research and Education in Biomedical Sciences, Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy
European Collaborative Group of the IMMIDIET Project › Author Affiliations
Financial support: The IMMIDIET project was supported by European Union grant n° QLK1–2000–00100 and MIUR -Programma Triennale di Ricerca, grant D. 1588.
Further Information

Publication History

Received 14 January 2007

Accepted after resubmission 07 June 2007

Publication Date:
28 November 2017 (online)


Shared environmental factors may confer to spouses a similar risk for cardiovascular disease. We aimed at investigating in pairs the concordance in risk factors for cardiovascular disease and in global risk of cardiovascular events. In the framework of the IMMIDIET Project, married couples, recruited randomly from general practice, were studied. One thousand six hundred and four apparently healthy subjects aged 25–74 years from three different European populations were enrolled. Individual cardiovascular risks were estimated using SCORE risk equations. Age was strongly correlated within couples (r=0.86, P<0.0001). In multivariate model, within-pair correlation was high for social status (r=049; percentage of explained variation=24%) and percent of calories from lipids (r=0.34; 12%). Concerning conventional metabolic risk factors, percentage of explained variation varied from 0.5% (triglycerides) to 11% (glucose). Among new risk factors, activated factor VII showed the strongest correlation (r=0.28) and C-reactive protein the lowest (r=0.13). Either total, coronary or non-coronary risk estimates at 10 years were strongly correlated within pairs: the risk of a member explained about two thirds of the cardiovascular risk of the partner. Spouse pairs share common lifestyle habits, common and new metabolic risk factors and the predicted global risk of cardiovascular events. If the individual risk of a person is influenced by the risk of his/her partner, decreasing the risk in a member of the pair should also decrease the risk in the partner. These concepts may have important public health consequences in targeting screening or disease prevention measures towards partners of people with cardiovascular risk.

* Members of the group are listed in the Appendix.

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