Coronary risk factors: New perspectives

Giampaolo Niccoli, Licia Iacoviello, Domenico Cianflone, Filippo Crea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The predisposing and precipitating causes of acute myocardial infarction (MI) are multiple; furthermore, different individuals may have different susceptibility, to a large extent genetically determined, to each of them. In spite of the complex aetiology of MI and of our limited knowledge of the causes responsible for the formation of persistent occlusive thrombosis in epicardial coronary arteries, the achievements obtained by controlling traditional risk factors are remarkable. Traditional risk factors, however, have a limited sensitivity among subjects with low/moderate levels of risk. Furthermore, in particular among subjects at medium risk, current preventive strategies are limited by the low incidence of preventable events which makes it necessary to also treat the vast majority of subjects who would not develop cardiac events even without any treatment. An improvement in preventive strategies for IHD can be achieved with the identification of: (1) new risk factors; (2) genotypes enhancing the susceptibility to specific risk factors; (3) phenotypes and genotypes making patients susceptible to specific preventive strategies; (4) genotypes protecting from risk factors. Although a word of caution is necessary as a number of recent studies on genetic markers, on new risk factors and on the interaction between genetic markers and environment have failed to withstand the rigour of population-based studies, the early findings available to date suggest that cost-effective preventive strategies based on individual susceptibility to specific predisposing and precipitating causes of MI may become a reality in the foreseeable future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • C-reactive protein
  • Genotype
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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