High prevalence of angina pectoris in Mexican-American men. A population with reduced risk of myocardial infraction

Braxton D. Mitchell, Helen P. Hazuda, Steven M. Haffner, Judith K. Patterson, Michael P. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Mexican-American men experience lower rates of cardiovascular mortality and have a lower prevalence of nonfatal myocardial infarction than do non-Hispanic white men. To see if this ethnic difference exists for other cardiovascular end points, we compared the prevalence of angina pectoris, as assessed by the Rose Angina Questionnaire, between Mexican Americans (n = 3272) and non-Hispanic whites (n = 1848) examined in the San Antonio Heart Study, a population-based survey of cardiovascular disease and diabetes conducted in San Antonio, Texas, between 1979 and 1988. Contrary to our expectations, angina prevalence was approximately twice as high in Mexican Americans as in non-Hispanic whites, with age-adjusted odds ratios of 2.01 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.13 to 3.58; P = .02) in men and 1.84 (95% CI, 1.26 to 2.70; P = .001) in women. After controlling for age, body mass index, diabetes status, cigarette smoking, and educational level by logistic regression analysis, angina prevalence remained statistically associated with Mexican American ethnicity in men, but not women. There was little ethnic difference in the proportion of Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white subjects who reported nonspecific chest pain (chest pain not meeting the Rose criteria), suggesting that the ethnic difference in angina prevalence was not an artifact of reporting bias. This was further supported by the fact that the conventional cardiovascular risk factors were more strongly associated with angina prevalence in Mexican Americans than in non-Hispanic whites. These data suggest that Mexican-American men experience high rates of angina despite low rates of myocardial infarction. Future studies should investigate ethnic factors that may have differential effects on the various manifestations of coronary heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-426
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1991


  • Angina pectoris
  • Mexican Americans
  • cholesterol
  • coronary disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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