Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus are more likely to have myocardial infarctions and ischemic strokes, especially during the first 12 months after diagnosis, than persons from the general population who do not have the disease.
Researchers evaluated information from persons with incident cases of systemic lupus erythematosus who were identified from population-based administrative data that represented residents in British Columbia, Canada, in a study published online May 9 in Arthritis Care & Research.
Led by J. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta, MD, PhD, University of British Columbia, the investigators assessed incidence rates of myocardial infarctions, ischemic stroke, and cardiovascular disease (a combination of myocardial infarction and stroke) between cases and matched controls.
“We found that the risks of MI, stroke, and CVD in SLE patients are substantially higher when compared to non-SLE controls, with a greater than 2-fold increase of risk in all 3 outcomes,” wrote Aviña-Zubieta and colleagues. “Overall, the elevated risk was 6-fold during the first year after SLE diagnosis and remained significantly high even after 5 years.”
Although the link between systemic lupus erythematosus and cardiovascular disease is well-established, very few studies have used population-based data to evaluate this relationship.
This was a matched cohort study of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (n=4863) and persons without the disease who were randomly selected from the general population in British Columbia (n=49,316). Cases and controls were matched on age, sex, and calendar year for entering the study. British Columbia has a population of about 4.5 million persons and has universal health care coverage. Population-based administrative data with linkable data files for all province-funded outpatient medical visits have been available since 1990.
This research was supported by the Canadian Arthritis Network, the Arthritis Society of Canada/the British Columbia Lupus Society, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Aviña-Zubieta, J. A., To, F., Vostretsova, K., et al. “Risk of Myocardial Infarction and Stroke in Newly Diagnosed Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A General Population-Based Study.” Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). Published online May 9, 2017. DOI:10.1002/acr.23018