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Original Research

Atherosclerosis in Ancient and Modern Egyptians:The Horus Study


Adel H. Allam ,

Al-Azhar University, Cairo, EG
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Mohamed A. Mandour Ali,

Al-Azhar University, Cairo, EG
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L. Samuel Wann,

Cardiovascular Physicians, Columbia St. Mary's Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI, US
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Randall C. Thompson,

Saint Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, US
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M. Linda Sutherland,

Newport Diagnostic Center, Newport Beach, CA, US
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James D. Sutherland,

Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills, CA, US
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Bruno Frohlich,

National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, US
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David E. Michalik,

Miller Children's Hospital of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, US
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Albert Zink,

Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen (EURAC), Bolzano/Bozen, IT
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Guido P. Lombardi,

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, PE
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Lucia Watson,

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, MX
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Samantha L. Cox,

Department of Archeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, GB
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Caleb E. Finch,

Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, US
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Michael I. Miyamoto,

Mission Heritage Medical Group, St. Joseph Heritage Health, Mission Viejo, CA, US
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Sallam L. Sallam,

Alfa Scan Outpatient Radiology Center, Cairo, EG
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Jagat Narula,

Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, US
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Gregory S. Thomas

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial, Long Beach, CA; University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
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Background: Although atherosclerosis is usually thought of as a disease of modernity, the Horus Team has previously reported atherosclerotic vascular calcifications on computed tomographic (CT) scans in ancient Egyptians.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare patterns and demographic characteristics of this disease among Egyptians from ancient and modern eras.

Methods: We compared the presence and extent of vascular calcifications from whole-body CT scans performed on 178 modern Egyptians from Cairo undergoing positron emission tomography (PET)/CT for cancer staging to CT scans of 76 Egyptian mummies (3100 BCE to 364 CE).

Results: The mean age of the modern Egyptian group was 52.3 15 years (range 14 to 84) versus estimated age at death of ancient Egyptian mummies 36.5 13 years (range 4 to 60); p < 0.0001.  Vascular calcification was detected in 108 of 178 (60.7%) of modern patients versus 26 of 76 (38.2%) of mummies, p < 0.001. Vascular calcifications on CT strongly correlated to age in both groups. In addition, the severity of disease by number of involved arterial beds also correlated to age, and there was a very similar pattern between the 2 groups. Calcifications in both modern and ancient Egyptians were seen peripherally in aortoiliac beds almost a decade earlier than in event-related beds (coronary and carotid).

Conclusions: The presence and severity of atherosclerotic vascular disease correlates strongly to age in both ancient and modern Egyptians. There is a striking correlation in the distribution of the number of vascular beds involved. Atherosclerotic calcifications are seen in the aortoiliac beds almost a decade earlier than in the coronary and carotid beds.

How to Cite: Allam AH, Mandour Ali MA, Wann LS, Thompson RC, Sutherland ML, Sutherland JD, et al.. Atherosclerosis in Ancient and Modern Egyptians:The Horus Study. Global Heart. 2014;9(2):197–202. DOI:
Published on 01 Jun 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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