J Am Heart Assoc. 2023 Oct 13:e031566. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.123.031566. Online ahead of print.
Background Genetic and nongenetic factors account for the association of family history with disease risk. Comparing adopted and nonadopted individuals provides an opportunity to disentangle those factors. Methods and Results We examined associations between family history of stroke and heart disease with incident stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) in 495 640 UK Biobank participants (mean age, 56.5 years; 55% women) stratified by childhood adoption status (5747 adoptees). We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) per affected family member, and for polygenic risk scores in Cox models adjusted for baseline age and sex. A total of 12 518 strokes and 23 923 MIs occurred over a 13-year follow-up. In nonadoptees, family history of stroke and heart disease was associated with increased stroke and MI risk, with the strongest association of family history of stroke for incident stroke (HR, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.12-1.19]) and family history of heart disease for incident MI (HR, 1.48 [95% CI, 1.45-1.50]). In adoptees, family history of stroke associated with incident stroke (HR, 1.41 [95% CI, 1.06-1.86]), but family history of heart disease was not associated with incident MI (P>0.5). Polygenic risk scores showed strong disease-specific associations in both groups. In nonadoptees, the stroke polygenic risk score mediated 6% risk between family history of stroke and incident stroke, and the MI polygenic risk score mediated 13% risk between family history of heart disease and incident MI. Conclusions Family history of stroke and heart disease increases risk for their respective conditions. Family history of stroke contains substantial potentially modifiable nongenetic risk, indicating a need for novel prevention strategies, whereas family history of heart disease represents predominantly genetic risk.