Being hospitalized for pneumonia can increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease later in life, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated.
The Canadian-led study, published Jan. 20, looked at 3,813 records from patients ages 65 and older and ages 45 to 64 over a 10-year-period. Researchers found pneumonia hospitalization to be associated with a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease events in the older group, with the highest risk in the first 30 days. Patients in the younger group also showed a significant risk for cardiovascular disease following pneumonia hospitalization, but only through two years follow-up, according to the study.
“The main conclusion from our study is that someone hospitalized for pneumonia should be considered at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” lead author Dr. Vicente Corrales-Medina, an infectious diseases physician and researcher at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor for the University of Ottawa’s faculty of medicine, said in a university news release. “This means two things. First, it provides yet another reason to do everything we can to prevent pneumonia from occurring in the community, through vaccination and basic hand hygiene, for example. This is especially important for the elderly and those with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol.”
Corrales-Medina recommends physicians develop a care plan for pneumonia patients with an understanding of their increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease in the weeks, months and years following their recoveries.
“Such measures could include screening and primary prevention strategies for cardiovascular disease,” Corrales-Medina said in the release.
This is the first study to only examine pneumonia patients with no previous history of cardiovascular disease, though other studies have linked pneumonia hospitalization and cardiovascular disease, according to the news release.
Death from influenza is more common among patients with heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic web site, which recommends getting flu shots. The site also said heart disease patients are at increased risk of flu complications, including pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart attack and death.
The research was conducted in collaboration with Sachin Yende, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the clinical epidemiology program at its CRISMA Center.
For more information, visit http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2091304 or http://www.ohri.ca/newsroom/newsstory.asp?ID=579.