Penn Medicine Logo While coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition wherein plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries, heart attack may occur when blood flow to a section of heart muscle is blocked. A groundbreaking study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that certain genetic profiles increasing risk of CAD are different from those raising chances of heart attacks among CAD patients. The study findings seem to have greater significance for physicians treating CAD patients.

At the time of the study, two genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were commenced for analyzing all or most of the genes in different individuals to detect common genetic factors influencing disease. A total of 12,393 patients suffering from CAD disorder were compared to 7,383 controls without CAD. Authors aimed to identify loci that are known to be predisposed with angiographic CAD. After laying hands on loci that predispose to heart attacks, 5,783 patients with angiographic CAD and a heart attack were compared to 3,644 experiencing angiographic CAD but no heart attack.

Lead author Muredach P. Reilly, MBBCH, MSCE, associate professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Penn, and colleagues observed a unique locus, ADAMTS7 which heightens the threat of developing CAD. The gene ADAMTS7 has been apparently implicated in arthritis. During the heart-attack comparison, a probably novel association at the ABO blood group locus was discovered. The gene coding for the enzyme behind people being blood group O supposedly safeguards against heart attacks.

The study is published in the latest edition of The Lancet.