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14-08-2011 | Cardiology | Article

Ankylosing spondylitis increases CV, cerebrovascular risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients have a greater burden of cardiovascular (CV) and cerebrovascular disease than the general population, suggests research published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

The study compared medical records from 8616 patients treated for AS between 1996 and 2006 in Quebec, Canada, and a random sample consisting of 1% of the population without AS who had at least one physician appointment during this time. Both groups were aged an average of 42.5 years and were followed-up for about 10 years.

Overall, AS patients were significantly more likely to experience any CV disease than members of the general population, regardless of age, and younger AS patients were also at increased risk for cerebrovascular disease.

Men aged 20-39 years with AS were at particular risk for aortic valvular disease, congestive heart failure, and ischemic heart disease compared with age-matched controls (prevalence ratio [PR]=2.97, 1.80, and 1.75, respectively). Women aged 20-39 years with AS were at high risk for non-aortic valvular disease, ischemic heart disease, and congestive heart failure (PR=3.01, 1.97, and 1.75, respectively).

Older AS patients experienced an increased risk for some CV diseases. For example, men with AS aged 40-59 years and 60 years or older had a greater risk for ischemic heart disease (PR=1.27 and 1.17, respectively), as did women with AS aged 40-59 years, compared with age- and gender-matched controls.

"The excess risk for CV disease is greatest among younger individuals with AS, but is observed in both sexes and across all age strata," summarize Adrian Levy (Oxford Outcomes Ltd, Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada) and co-workers.

"These data therefore address an important gap in the management of, and provide support for the European League Against Rheumatism recommendation advising regular CV and cerebrovascular risk assessments for, patients with AS."

By Lynda Williams

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