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Placental weight and foetal growth rate as predictors of ischaemic heart disease in a Swedish cohort

  • A. Heshmati (a1) and I. Koupil (a1)


Studies on placental size and cardiovascular disease have shown inconsistent results. We followed 10,503 men and women born in Uppsala, Sweden, 1915–1929 from 1964 to 2008 to assess whether birth characteristics, including placental weight and placenta/birth weight ratio, were predictive of future ischaemic heart disease (IHD). Adjustments were made for birth cohort, age, sex, mother’s parity, birth weight, gestational age and social class at birth. Placental weight and birth weight were negatively associated with IHD. The effect of placental weight on IHD was stronger in individuals from medium social class at birth and in those with low education. Men and women from non-manual social class at birth had the lowest risk for IHD as adults. We conclude that low foetal growth rate rather than placental weight was more predictive of IHD in the Swedish cohort. However, the strong effect of social class at birth on risk for IHD did not appear to be mediated by foetal growth rate.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: A. Heshmati, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Stockholm University/Karolinska Institutet, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. (Email


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Placental weight and foetal growth rate as predictors of ischaemic heart disease in a Swedish cohort

  • A. Heshmati (a1) and I. Koupil (a1)


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