The sort of heart attack that primarily affects younger women has hereditary predispositions. a study reveals

A form of heart attack that typically affects young to middle-aged women has been linked to novel genes by research headed by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). On May 29, 2023, the findings were published in Nature Genetics.n

A coronary artery wall bruise or bleed, known as a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), prevents blood flow to a portion of the heart attack. SCAD is a prominent cause of heart attacks around the time of pregnancy, and unlike other forms of heart attacks, it is more prevalent in women under the age of 60. Additionally, those who have had a SCAD typically maintain a healthy lifestyle, and SCAD can occasionally occur more than once.nn

To date, little is known about why a SCAD happens, often striking out of the blue, meaning that it is currently impossible to prevent.n

The researchers present a genome-wide association meta-analysis involving a total of 1,917 cases of SCAD and 9,292 controls from European ancestry. They found 16 blood clots when bleeding occurs in tissues.n

Interestingly, the researchers found that, while many genes linked to a higher risk of SCAD are shared with risk genes for conventional coronary artery disease (CAD), they have an opposite effect. This means patients with a SCAD have some genetic protection from the risk of CAD, and is further evidence that these diseases are very different. The only shared risk factor appeared to be genetically elevated blood pressure.n

Dr. David Adlam, Associate Professor of Acute and Interventional Cardiology at the University of Leicester, and lead author of the study, said, “This research confirms that there are multiple genes involved in determining the risk of a person having a SCAD. These genes give us the first key insight into the underlying causes of this disease and provide new lines of enquiry, which we hope will guide future new treatment approaches.”

More information:
David Adlam, Genome-wide association meta-analysis of spontaneous coronary artery dissection identifies risk variants and genes related to artery integrity and tissue-mediated coagulation, Nature Genetics (2023).

Provided by
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust