The relation of cigarette smoking to both coronary disease and non-fatal myocardial infarction was examined in a cross sectional study of 1053 women who underwent coronary arteriography. As compared with the 489 women who had never smoked cigarettes, ever-smokers (mean duration of smoking, 25 years) were 1.6 times as likely to have significant stenotic disease and were 1.9 times as likely to have suffered a myocardial infarction. These associations were strongest in women under 50 years of age, with odds ratios of 3.5 for coronary artery disease and 4.5 for myocardial infarction. Although the extent of stenotic disease and prior myocardial infarction were strongly associated, women who smoked cigarettes remained at increased risk of a myocardial infarction even after their increased coronary artery disease had been taken into account. For example, heavy smokers (greater than 30 pack-years) were 2.3 times as likely to have had a myocardial infarction as were non-smokers; controlling for the extent of stenotic disease (in addition to age and other risk factors) reduced the estimated relative risk to only 1.9. Stratified analyses showed that this increased risk for clinical disease among smokers was evident at all levels of occlusion, even among women with minimal stenotic disease. These results, collected at the time of arteriography, suggest that non-atherogenic mechanisms may be important in the aetiology of myocardial infarction among women who smoke cigarettes.
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