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Heart 89:1249-1250 doi:10.1136/heart.89.10.1249
  • Scientific letters

Family history of premature death from ischaemic heart disease is associated with an increased risk of delivering a low birth weight baby

  1. J P Pell1,
  2. G C S Smith2,
  3. A Dominiczak3,
  4. S M Cobbe3,
  5. R Dobbie4,
  6. A D McMahon5,
  7. I Ford5
  1. 1Department of Public Health, Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, UK
  3. 3Division of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Information and Statistics Division, Common Services Agency, Edinburgh, UK
  5. 5Robertson Centre for Biostatistics, University of Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Jill P Pell, Department of Public Health, Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Dalian House, 350 St Vincents Street, Glasgow G3 8YU, UK;
    jill.pell{at}gghb.scot.nhs.uk
  • Accepted 31 March 2003

It is well recognised that low birth weight babies are at increased risk of vascular and metabolic diseases in later life.1,2 Barker and colleagues postulated that this was the result of fetal adaptation to inadequate intrauterine nutrition.1 If true, dietary supplementation of women should be considered as a potential public health intervention to reduce the burden of ischaemic heart disease in future generations. However, recent studies have demonstrated that mothers of low birth weight babies were themselves at increased risk of later ischaemic heart disease.3,4 This finding is difficult to explain by the Barker hypothesis and points to a possible common genetic predisposition to both ischaemic heart disease and pregnancy complications. Many genetic variants have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of ischaemic heart disease and many more are likely to exist which remain to be discovered. In the present study we used family history of premature death from ischaemic heart disease as …