A significant increase in the risk of heart attack was seen I patients with Sjӧgren’s syndrome (SjS), especially in the first year following diagnosis, research presented at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2014) showed.

In addition to the risk of heart attack, scientists also noted a trend towards an increase risk for stroke. The acute inflammatory state in Sjӧgren’s syndrome was thought to be the main driver for the increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

The retrospective matched cohort study showed that out of 1,176 new cases with SjS, 28 developed a first time heart attack, and among 11,879 non-SjS matched controls, 138 had a heart attack. Regarding stroke cohort results, out of 1,195 with new SjS, 19 developed a first-time stroke, and out of 11,983 non-SjS matched controls, 137 had an event.

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The relative risks for heart attack and stroke events were 2.2 (95% CI: 1.41–3.32) and 1.5 (95% CI: 0.9–2.4), respectively. The risk of developing a heart attack was greatest within the first year following diagnosis of SjS (3.6 times), and lasted up to five years following the initial diagnosis.

The results support the need for increased monitoring for coronary artery disease in patients with SjS as well as appropriate management and risk factor modifications to reduce the risk of a future heart attack.

For more information visit EULAR.org.