Asians in the United Kingdom surpass the already high mortality from coronary artery disease seen in Caucasians. In the present study, the angiographic features of consecutive series of 87 Caucasians, 83 British Asian and 30 Asian patients in India with coronary artery disease were assessed. Blood samples at fasting and after ingestion of 75 g of dextrose were taken to assess the extent of diabetes. Fasting blood samples were also taken for measurement of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride. Coronary angiograms were scored by two independent observers who were blinded to the patients' ethnic origin. The Asians were younger than the Caucasians, but did not differ in their body mass index, systolic or diastolic blood pressure or in cigarette consumption. Lipids were similar apart from Indian Asians having lower cholesterol than British Asians, and Caucasians having lower triglyceride than Asians. There were more diabetics in Asians than in Caucasians. Asians in Britain wait longer than Caucasians and Asians in India from onset of angina to undergoing coronary angiography. The presence of triple vessel disease was not significantly different (P = 0.19) in the three groups, that is, 38%, 43% and 27% in Caucasians, British Asians and Indian Asians, respectively. The geometric mean coronary score was 26.3 (C.I. 22.6-30.6), 25.3 (C.I. 21.8-29.4), and 25.2 (C.I. 19.6-32.5) in Caucasians, British Asians and Indian Asians, respectively. This difference was not significant (P = 0.92). Total number of lesions more than three were similar, that is, in 25% Caucasian, 41% British Asian and 40% Indian Asian patients (P < 0.10). British Asians had less proximal disease (P = 0.0002), and Indian Asians less distal disease (P = 0.003) compared to Caucasians. Non-discrete (long) lesions were more prevalent in Asians than Caucasians (P = 0.0005) The total number of lesions more than three in diabetic Asians was significantly more than in the non-diabetic, 71% versus 31% in British Asians (P = 0.002) and 90% versus 15% in Indian Asians (P= 0.0001). The relationship between diabetes and long lesions in both British and Indian Asians was highly significant (P < 0.00001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Thus severity and extent of coronary disease is no different in Asians as compared to Caucasians. Diabetes is perhaps responsible for the more diffuse disease seen in Asians.
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