Numerous studies have addressed the association between the apolipoprotein E polymorphism and cardiovascular disease, but only a few reports are based on findings at autopsy. In the present retrospective study, we have used autopsy findings from a general hospital population to further investigate this issue.
We collected information from 1522 consecutive autopsy reports (886 men, mean age 65.7 years; 636 women, mean age 69.7 years) conducted at Oslo University Hospital, Norway, in the period from 1996 to 2000. Cause of death and signs related to cardiovascular disease including the degree of atherosclerosis in the aorta and the coronary arteries, signs of myocardial infarction, heart weight, and signs of cerebrovascular disease were recorded. The patients were genotyped, and the apolipoprotein E allele frequencies (?2, 8.0%; ?3, 72.6%; and ?4, 19.4%) were not statistically different from a group of healthy controls. Approximately 35% of the patients died from a cardiovascular disease. Genotypes differed significantly (P