Objective: Experimental studies indicate that patients with Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) experience accelerated atherosclerosis. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the occurrence of overt ischemic heart disease (IHD) is increased in WG.
Methods: A total of 293 WG patients were included in the study. Information on all hospitalizations for IHD in Denmark from 1977 to 2006 was obtained from the Danish National Hospital Register. The WG patients were compared with the Danish background population with respect to rates of hospitalization for clinical manifestations of IHD after the date of vasculitis diagnosis by calculating standardized ratios of observed to expected (O:E) events.
Results: Sixty-three first IHD events were registered in the WG group during the 2,482 patient-years of followup, corresponding to a significantly increased O:E ratio for IHD of 1.9 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.4-2.4). A significantly increased risk was found for acute myocardial infarction (MI) (O:E ratio 2.5 [95% CI 1.6-3.7]), but not for angina pectoris (O:E ratio 1.3 [95% CI 0.7-2.1]). In analyses stratified according to the time between the diagnosis of vasculitis and the cardiovascular event, increased O:E ratios were found for IHD and acute MI occurring <5.0 years after WG diagnosis (2.1 [95% CI 1.4-3.0] for IHD and 3.6 [95% CI 2.0-5.9] for acute MI) and for IHD occurring > or =10.0 years after WG diagnosis (2.2 [95% CI 1.3-3.4]). Significantly increased O:E ratios for IHD and acute MI were found in patients who were > or =50.0 years of age at the time of diagnosis of WG, in male patients, and in patients who received high cumulative doses of cyclophosphamide.
Conclusion: Compared with the background population, WG patients seem to experience an increased number of both early and late cardiovascular events due to IHD.