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April 1977

Smoker's Heart

Author Affiliations

Livingston, NJ; New York

Arch Intern Med. 1977;137(4):435. doi:10.1001/archinte.1977.03630160009004

Increased incidence and severity of coronary artery disease, as manifested by myocardial infarction with an associated higher death rate in cigarette smokers, has been documented by a large number of epidemiologic studies.1 Demonstration of underlying morphologic coronary atherosclerosis in cigarette smokers was first reported 11 years ago.2 The study, based on information from autopsy protocols, showed that heavy cigarette smokers (two or more packs a day) had nearly three times more atherosclerotic changes than patients who never smoked regularly. A new prospective study, "Cigarette Smoking and Coronary Artery Disease," in Chest (70:697-705, 1976) covers 1,056 men who died from causes other than heart disease in a Veterans Administration hospital between 1965 and 1970. Patients with heart weights of more than 500 gm (to exclude hypertension) and diabetics were excluded from the study. The results show more than four times more atherosclerosis in two or more packs-a-day smokers vs

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