Women Smokers Prone to Dangerous Blood Vessel Condition..

October 19, 2008 - As part of the Women's Health Initiative** (WHI) the association between potential risk factors and subsequent clinically important abdominal aortic aneurysm events (repairs and ruptures) in women was assessed. It was found that women who smoke are eight times more likely to suffer a potentially fatal rupture of the body's largest artery, the aorta, or require surgery to repair the weakening that can cause such a rupture, than nonsmokers. (The aorta is the main artery carrying blood from the heart. An aneurysm is a weakening or ballooning of the blood vessel, a process that can take years to develop, often without symptoms. Some 15,000 Americans die each year when an abdominal aortic aneurysm ruptures, 40 percent of them women.)

Research paper: Frank A. Lederle et al., Abdominal aortic aneurysm events in the women’s health initiative: cohort study, British Medical Journal 2008;337:a1724 ((Published 14 October 2008). Full Text

The large prospective observational cohort study with mean follow-up of 7.8 years found events occurred in 184 women and were strongly associated with age and smoking. Ever smoking, current smoking, and amount smoked all contributed independent risk.

** - The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) launched in 1991 was a major 15-year research program to address the most common causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in postmenopausal women -- cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. WHI consisted of a set of clinical trials and an observational study, which together involved 161,808 generally healthy postmenopausal women (aged 50-79).

Reference: Women Smokers Prone to Dangerous Blood Vessel Condition by Ed Edelson, HealthDay, 10/15/2008.