Carriers of a non-O blood type are more likely to suffer a heart attack, new research finds
01/11/2019 // Frances Bloomfield // Views

Your blood type could determine your susceptibility to a heart attack. People whose blood types fell into a non-O blood group are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke, claim the researchers behind a compelling new study. The Dutch research team analyzed data from over 1,362,569 adult subjects, all of whom were part of 11 cohorts from nine studies. They found a total of 23,153 cardiovascular events, or any incident that may damage the heart muscle. From there, the researchers analyzed connections that linked blood group to combined cardiovascular events and coronary events, including fatal coronary events.

For their investigation into these combined cardiovascular events, the researchers studied 708,276 people who possessed a non-O blood type, and 476,868 people who belonged to the O blood group. They found that 17,449 (2.5 percent) people with a non-O blood type had experienced a cardiovascular event, while 10,916 (2.3 percent) people from the O blood group had gone through one as well.

For their examination of coronary events, the research team looked into the data collected from 771,113 people from a non-O blood group, and 519,763 people who had an O blood type. Among the groups, they discovered that 11,437 (1.5 percent) people from the non-O blood group and 7,220 (1.4 percent) people from the O blood group had all suffered through a coronary event. According to, the odds ratio for coronary events were much higher among carriers of a non-O blood type.

In particular, they found that 14 in 1,000 people from the O blood group had suffered a heart attack; the figures increased in the other blood groups, specifically A, B or AB, at 15 in 1,000 people, reported the


“We demonstrate that having a non-O blood group is associated with a nine percent increased risk of coronary events and a nine percent increased risk of cardiovascular events, especially myocardial infarction,” explained lead study author Tessa Kole, a Master's degree student at the University Medical Centre Groningen. (Related: New study shows anger outbursts may trigger a heart attack.)

The researchers team, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Paris, France, have yet to conclusively identify the mechanisms linking blood type to cardiovascular risk. They have proposed a number of possible explanations, however. During the course of their study, they found that individuals with a non-O blood type had greater concentrations of the von Willebrand factor (VWF), a vital blood-clotting protein that has also been connected to thrombotic events. Moreover, carriers from the non-O blood group had higher levels of cholesterol, especially those with the A blood type.

“More research is needed to identify the cause of the apparent increased cardiovascular risk in people with a non-O blood group. Obtaining more information about risk in each non-O blood group (A, B, and AB) might provide further explanations of the causes, ” Kole has said.

Along with the rest of the research team, Kole believes that their findings may be important in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular events. She has suggested that healthcare professionals should consider an individual's blood type when evaluating their cardiovascular risk.

Kole stated: “In future, blood group should be considered in risk assessment for cardiovascular prevention, together with cholesterol, age, sex and systolic blood pressure. It could be that people with an A blood group should have a lower treatment threshold for dyslipidaemia or hypertension, for example. We need further studies to validate if the excess cardiovascular risk in non-O blood group carriers may be amenable to treatment.”

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