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Potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in China: the INTERHEART China study
  1. K K Teo1,
  2. L Liu2,
  3. C K Chow1,
  4. X Wang2,
  5. S Islam1,
  6. L Jiang2,
  7. J E Sanderson3,
  8. S Rangarajan1,
  9. S Yusuf1,
  10. for the INTERHEART Investigators in China
  1. 1
    Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University/Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2
    Beijing Hypertension League Institute and Fu Wai Hospital, Beijing, China
  3. 3
    Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
  1. Correspondence to Dr K K Teo, Rm 3U4 McMaster University Medical Centre, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5; teok{at}


Background: Lifestyle changes associated with the rapidly developing economy increase cardiovascular disease (CVD), myocardial infarction (MI) and cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) in China.

Objective: To assess and compare regionally, and with other regions of the world, distribution of the nine INTERHEART CVRFs, their relationship to MI and the CVD epidemic in China in order to determine how this may influence the future of CVD in China.

Methods: Patients with first acute MI (n = 3030) and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 3056) were enrolled from 26 centres in China.

Results: Northern Chinese had higher rates of smoking and hypertension, whereas southern Chinese reported lower fruit and vegetable intake and higher rates of depression. Compared with other regions, participants from China were older, with lower body mass index and waist to hip ratios, lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, ApoB lipoprotein and ApoB to ApoA-1 ratios, but higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and ApoA-1. All nine INTERHEART CVRFs, education and income were significantly associated with MI in the Chinese cohort. There was significant heterogeneity in the strength of association between certain CVRFs and MI for China versus other regions, with stronger associations for the Chinese for diabetes (OR 5.10 vs 2.84), depression (2.27 vs 1.37) and permanent stress (2.67 vs 2.06); and lower for the Chinese for abdominal obesity (1.33 vs 2.62) (p for heterogeneity, all <0.001).

Conclusions: Diabetes and psychosocial factors have strong associations with risk of MI in China, indicating that future increases in these risk factors with societal change in China may hasten rapid increases in CVD.

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  • Funding The INTERHEART study was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN), and through unrestricted grants from several pharmaceutical companies (with major contributions from AstraZeneca, Novartis, Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Aventis), Knoll Pharmaceuticals (now Abbott), Bristol Myers Squibb, King Pharma and Sanofi-Sythelabo), and by various national bodies in different countries. SY is supported by a chair from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. CKC is supported by a Cottrell fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Public Health (Sidney Sax) Overseas Fellowship co-funded by the NHMRC and NHF of Australia.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • See Editorial, p 1818

  • Ethics approval Approval from the ethics committees at each of the recruiting sites.

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