Objective: To explore the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides (AAVs) and to assess contributing risk factors.
Methods: In a retrospective matched-pair cohort study, 113 of 131 patients with AAVs from a vasculitis clinic registry were matched 1:1 for renal function, age at diagnosis, sex, smoking status, and previous history of a cardiovascular disease to patients with noninflammatory chronic kidney disease (CKD). Cardiovascular events were defined as acute coronary syndrome, new-onset angina, symptomatic peripheral vascular disease, stroke, and transient ischemic attack.
Results: Median followup times were 3.4 years for the AAV patients and 4.2 years for the CKD patients. More cardiovascular events occurred in the AAV group (23 of 113) than in the CKD group (16 of 113). Cox regression survival analysis showed a significantly increased risk of a cardiovascular event for AAV patients, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 2.23 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.1-4.4) (P = 0.017). Within the cohort of AAV patients, the most strongly predictive factors were previous history of cardiovascular disease (HR 4 [95% CI 1.7-9.8]), history of dialysis dependency (HR 4.3 [95% CI 1.5-12.1]), ever having smoked (HR 3.9 [95% CI 1.5-10]), age at diagnosis (HR 1.038 [95% CI 1.006-1.072]), estimated glomerular filtration rate at remission (HR 0.977 [95% CI 0.957-0.998]), and serum cholesterol concentration at presentation (HR 0.637 [95% CI 0.441-0.92]).
Conclusion: In this retrospective study, patients with AAVs appear at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, with increased risk in those with a previous history of cardiovascular disease, dialysis dependency, poor renal function at remission, or a history of smoking. Measures to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease should be integral to the management of systemic vasculitis.