University of Minnesota

Los Angeles Heart Study

Study Category: The Cohort Studies (1947-1972)
Year Begun: 1949
Location: Los Angeles, California
Principal Investigator(s): Chapman, J.
External Resource: View URL


This study among Civil Servants of Los Angeles county was notable in its early initiation, in 1949. Its independence of other contemporary U.S. cohort studies, and its attempts to study risk associated with particular coronary disease manifestations among men, women, and minorities made it a notable early study.


LA civil servants, 2252, randomly selected, ages 21 to 70, received a battery of examinations for “routine” CVD risk factor candidates, plus chest fluoroscopy for heart size, and were followed for cardiac events during 10 years.


Those with elevated single or combined risk factors developed a higher rate of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and angina pectoris, particularly under age 50. Body mass had “little or no effect on the risk other than can be accounted for by high serum cholesterol or hypertension.” The association of angina was stronger for hypertension; of AMI or sudden death the association was stronger for blood cholesterol.


The authors emphasize the preventive implications of focus on the particular risk factor associations with particular vascular events. This only later became relevant and then to stroke prevention. It was too early in 1964 for them to assess interactions adequately, including those with smoking habits that were only surveyed in 1958. (HB)


Chapman, JM, Massey, FJ. The interrelationship of serum cholesterol, hypertension, body weight, and risk of coronary disease. Results of the first ten years’ follow-up in the Los Angeles Heart Study. J. chron.Dis. 1964, 17: 933-949.