Pneumonia, sepsis linked to increased risk of heart disease

By Amy Wallace  |  Aug. 2, 2017 at 11:33 AM
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Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A new study has identified a link between pneumonia or sepsis in adults resulting in hospital admission and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Researchers conducting the study, published Aug. 1 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, examined whether hospital admission for pneumonia or sepsis infection was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in the years after infection.

"Severe infections in adulthood are associated with a contemporaneously raised risk of cardiovascular disease," Professor Scott Montgomery, director of the clinical epidemiology group, Örebro University, Sweden, said in a press release. "Whether this raised risk persists for several years after infection is less well established."

Researchers followed 236,739 men born between 1952 and 1956 who had extensive physical and psychological examinations at age 18 for military conscription assessments.

A total of 46,754 men had a first diagnosis of cardiovascular disease during the follow-up period, with 9,987 hospital admissions for pneumonia or sepsis in 8,534 men who had these diagnoses.

The study revealed that infection was linked to a 6.33 times higher risk of cardiovascular disease during the first year after pneumonia or sepsis infection. Cardiovascular disease risk was 2.47 times higher in the second year and 2.12 times higher in the third year after infection.

Even accounting for other factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, poor physical fitness and household crowding in childhood, the risk from pneumonia or sepsis infection was associated with the highest magnitude risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers say.

"Our results indicate that the risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke, was increased after hospital admission for sepsis or pneumonia," Dr. Cecilia Bergh, an affiliated researcher at Örebro University, said. "The risk remained notably raised for three years after infection and was still nearly two-fold after five years."

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