Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 16 No. 5 • May 2013

Blood Groups and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

A 2012 paper1 reported on the association between blood groups and the risk of coronary heart disease in two large cohorts: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS, including 62,073 women) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS, including 27,428 men).

The frequency for the blood types O, A, B, and AB was 42.9%, 36.0%, 13.3%, and 7.8% in women and 43.0%, 37.2%, 12.3%, and 7.5% in men. These frequencies were similar in both the NHS and HPFS across the four ABO blood groups. The authors determined that during up to 26 years of follow-up, there were 2055 confirmed coronary heart disease cases (1666 nonfatal MI and 389 fatal CHD) in the NHS, while during 20 years of follow-up, there were 2015 CHD cases (with 1420 nonfatal MI and 595 fatal CHD). The incidence of CHD among the blood groups per 100,000 person-years were 125, 128, 142, and 161 for those with blood type O, A, B, and AB in women and 373, 382, 387, and 524 for those with blood types O, A, B, and AB in men. The cumulative incidence of CHD was statistically significantly different among the 4 ABO blood groups in both cohorts (P=0.0048 in NGS and 0.0002 in HPFS, respectively.

“Compared with participants reporting blood group O, those with non-O blood type [A, B, and AB] had an age-adjusted hazard ratio of 1.09 (95% CI, 1.03–1.17).” “Compared with the O blood group, the non-O blood type (A, B, and AB) had a stronger relationship with CHD risk in overweight and obese women than those with BMI<25 kg/m squared. However, this interaction was not confirmed in men ...”

The authors suggest that recent studies lend support to the relation between ABO blood type and cardiovascular risk. They had recently discovered that the ABO gene is located on chromosome 9q34 in association with the plasma soluble E-selectin levels in the NHS, as was found in another genome-wide association study. In addition, they say, the ABO locus was related to tumor necrosis factor alpha, a powerful proinflammatory cytokine that has been associated with increased CHD risk.1 Since most of the participants were white, however, the researchers suggest that the results may not necessarily apply to other races.


  1. He et al. ABO blood group and risk of coronary heart disease in two pro­spective cohort studies. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 32:2314-20 (2012).

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