Differential risk of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction in male and female smokers


Background: Smoking is a well-documented risk for acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). The differential effect between sexes has yet to be quantified.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to differentiate the effect of smoking on increased risk of STEMI between sexes.

Methods: For this retrospective ecological cohort study, all patients at a U.K. tertiary cardiothoracic center who presented between 2009 and 2014 with acute STEMI were combined with population data to generate incidence rates of STEMI. Age-standardized incidence rate ratios (IRRs) using the Poisson distribution were calculated comparing STEMI rates between smokers and nonsmokers stratified by sex and 3 age groups (18 to 49, 50 to 64, and >65 years).

Results: A total of 3,343 patients presented over 5,639,328 person-years. Peak STEMI rate for current smokers was in the 70 to 79 years age range for women (235 per 100,000 patient-years) and 50 to 59 years (425 per 100,000 patient-years) in men. Smoking was associated with a significantly greater increase in STEMI rate for women than men (IRR: 6.62; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.98 to 7.31, vs. 4.40; 95% CI: 4.15 to 4.67). The greatest increased risk was in women age 18 to 49 (IRR: 13.22; 95% CI: 10.33 to 16.66, vs. 8.60; 95% CI: 7.70 to 9.59 in men). The greatest risk difference was in the age 50 to 64 years group, with IRR of 9.66 (95% CI: 8.30 to 11.18) in women and 4.47 (95% CI: 4.10 to 4.86) in men.

Conclusions: This study quantifies the differential effect of smoking between sexes, with women having a significantly increased risk of STEMI than men. This information encourages continued efforts to prevent smoking uptake and promote cessation.

Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2019; 73(25):3259-3266