Cardiovascular Morbidity and Risk Factors in Holocaust Survivors in Israel

Omri Zamstein, Aya Biderman, Michael Sherf, Ran Ben David, Jacob Dreiher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To compare the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and risk factors in Holocaust survivors with that of Jewish immigrants from Europe and America. Design: Population-based, cross-sectional study. Setting: Clalit, a large Israeli healthcare provider. Participants: Holocaust survivors (n=83,971) and a comparison group of Jewish individuals born in North or South America or European countries not under Nazi occupation or who immigrated to Israel before 1939 (n=16,058) (mean age 84±7, 61% female). Measurements: Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses of cardiovascular diseases and risk factors. Matching the comparison group to Holocaust Survivors on propensity scores for exposure. Results: The prevalence of ischemic heart disease (38.7% vs 31.3%), congestive heart failure (10.9% vs 9.1%), past stroke (15.7% vs 13.4%), and peripheral vascular disease (9.5% vs 7.9%) was higher in Holocaust survivors (p<.001 for all comparisons). Similar results were found for cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes mellitus (14.4% vs 13.6%), hypertension (89.3% vs 86.4%), dyslipidemia (75.9% vs 74.0%) (p<.001 for all comparisons). In multivariable analysis, matched on propensity scores and controlled for confounders, odds ratios for men and women were higher for diabetes (1.23, 1.55), dyslipidemia (1.53, 1.51), hypertension (1.56, 1.94), stroke (1.18, 1.17), and ischemic heart disease (1.18, 1,40), but not congestive heart failure (0.95, 1.02). A Positive association was noted for peripheral vascular disease in males (1.20) but not females (0.96). Conclusion: Prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and risk factors was higher in Holocaust survivors. These associations were stronger in women in most cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1684-1691
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2018, The American Geriatrics Society


  • Holocaust
  • Jewish
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • cardiovascular risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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