In 39 children with Legg-Perthes disease who were nonsmokers, the specific aim was to assess relationships among parental cigarette smoking during pregnancy, household smoking before diagnosis of Legg-Perthes disease, hypofibrinolysis, and thrombophilia. Fifteen (38%) children had no secondhand smoke exposure; 24 (62%) had secondhand smoke exposure before their diagnosis. Seventeen (71%) of these 24 children were exposed while in utero to smoking by a parent or live in relative and also had exposure to household smoke during childhood; seven (29%) had only household smoke exposure in childhood. In the full cohort of 39 children, secondhand smoke exposure correlated inversely with the major stimulator of fibrinolysis, stimulated tissue plasminogen activator activity. Of the children exposed to smoking, 48% had low stimulated tissue plasminogen activator activity (< 2.19 IU/ml) compared with 7% of the children without secondhand smoke exposure and 14% of 22 healthy control children. Secondhand smoke exposure had no significant effects on other measures of coagulation. Secondhand smoke exposure while in utero and during childhood appears to lower stimulated tissue plasminogen activator activity and additionally may depress heritable low stimulated tissue plasminogen activator activity, leading to hypofibrinolysis. Hypofibrinolysis may facilitate thrombotic venous occlusion in the head of the femur, leading to venous hypertension and hypoxic bone death, Legg-Perthes disease.
Cholesterol Center and Department of Orthopedics, Jewish Hospital, Cincinnati, OH; and the Departments of †Orthopedics
††Hematology-Oncology, Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.