Can your ears predict your risk of this common killer?

Can your ears predict your risk of this common killer?

In a recent study of 241 patients hospitalized for acute stroke, researchers found that over 78 percent of them had what is known as Frank’s sign. Frank’s sign, named after American physician Dr. Sanders T. Frank, is a diagonal crease in the earlobe that starts at the tragus and continues at a 45 degree angle.

Previous studies have shown that Frank’s sign could be a predictor of coronary artery disease. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Frank’s sign could indicate premature aging and loss of skin elasticity. It may be more relevant in a younger population.

“Many times, these studies examine the patients after they have been diagnosed with a certain condition,” says Dr. James Vales, Advocate Medical Group physician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “I haven’t seen a thorough study that looks at the overall percentage of individuals who have ear creases which, from my experience in seeing patients, I would expect to be pretty high.”

Not knowing if there is a true correlation or not, Dr. Vales advises not to expect your physician to begin ordering cardiac tests after just a quick look at your ears.

That is not to say you shouldn’t ask your physician if you notice you have Frank’s sign or anything else that concerns you. You just don’t need to run away scared from the mirror.

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  1. Shure is nice to hear extensive news about my ear. Too bad I am not a doctor and could interpret the info about ear parts. Why not sketch an ear and show us where this so called line is.

    • Ted the line is shown above in the second ear picture in the bottom section of the ear. I googled it
      It’s interesting how it’s a clear sign for a heart disease, thanks for the information !

    • You mean like the picture in the article showing the diagonal line on the ear lobe, as described in the article?…

  2. “diagonal crease in the earlobe…at a 45 degree angle”

  3. TOMMIE L HODGES June 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm · Reply

    Your photos of the ear is not clear what line/creases we should be looking for. Please demonstrate this area with people with this condition or as reader Ted stated, sketch an ear where this so-called is.

  4. The visual is plain as day in the second photo…the crease is across the ear LOBE. I have heard of this before – thank you for posting the photo.

  5. I have a crease but it does not start at the tragus, it starts about a quarter inch below, closer to my face. So I’m wondering if this is still an indicator. I have low blood pressure, low heart rate great cholesterol levels and am at a good weight so I’m just wondering about it, and if it has to start right at the tragus. Thanks!

About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.