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Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Mortality Are Increased in Ankylosing Spondylitis FREE

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The full report is titled “Patients With Ankylosing Spondylitis Have Increased Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Mortality. A Population-Based Study.” It is in the 15 September 2015 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 163, pages 409-416). The authors are N.N. Haroon, J.M. Paterson, P. Li, R.D. Inman, and N. Haroon.


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Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(6):I-46. doi:10.7326/P15-9029
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Some studies have shown that patients with ankylosing spondylitis have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. It is not clear whether patients with ankylosing spondylitis have a greater risk of dying from vascular disease than patients who do not have ankylosing spondylitis.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To find out whether the risk for death from vascular disease is different for patients with ankylosing spondylitis compared with those who do not have ankylosing spondylitis.

Who was studied?

The researchers examined administrative health data from Ontario, Canada, on 21,473 patients with ankylosing spondylitis diagnosed between 1995 and 2011. They compared these patients with a matched group of 86,606 persons who did not have ankylosing spondylitis.

How was the study done?

Both groups of patients were followed until their death or the end of the study period. “Vascular death” was defined as death from either cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease.

What did the researchers find?

Overall, risk for death from vascular disease was higher in patients with ankylosing spondylitis than in patients without this disease. For patients with ankylosing spondylitis, each year of age was associated with an increase in the risk for vascular death and men had almost twice the risk for death than women. When the researchers specifically studied participants who were 65 years of age or older, they found that the patients with ankylosing spondylitis who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or cholesterol-lowering drugs had a lower risk for vascular death.

What were the limitations of the study?

The researchers did not have information on whether patients smoked or on their diet or exercise patterns. Also, they had prescription information only for patients who were 65 years of age or older.

What are the implications of the study?

This study found that patients with ankylosing spondylitis had an increased risk for death from vascular disease. Patients with ankylosing spondylitis should talk with their doctor about ways to decrease their risk for vascular disease and follow a healthy lifestyle.

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