A prospective study of the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) in men aged 45--54 was conducted in six group practices in Belfast, Northern Ireland Of the 1343 men examined once by clinical, electrocardiographic, biochemical and anthropometric methods, 1202 free from CHD entered the prospective study. All 1202 men were followed for at least five years and the average annual incidence of CHD during this period was estimated as 1.73% (104 men developed). Of the 28 measurements made at initial examination, four--S-T depression, total lifetime tobacco consumption, diastolic blood pressure, and height (significant on classical linear discriminant function analysis)--were investigated in more detail. Using multidimensional contingency table methods, the probability of developing CHD was found to depend, in rand order of importance, on S-T depression, total lifetime tobacco consumption, and diastolic blood pressure. The risk of development was maximal (0.3732, four times the 'random' risk) in men with S-T depression, greater than average total lifetime tobacco consumption, and a diastolic pressure of 100 mm Hg or more.
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