Chronic inflammatory diseases and cardiovascular risk: a systematic review

Can J Cardiol. 2011 Mar-Apr;27(2):174-82. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2010.12.040.


Despite recent advancements in the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD), it remains the number one cause of death in the world. While traditional risk factors partially account for the development of CAD, other novel risk factors have recently been implicated. Specifically, chronic inflammation has been postulated to play a role in the development and propagation of this disease. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the available evidence to determine if patients with chronic inflammatory diseases have higher rates of cardiovascular disease. A MEDLINE search was conducted for articles published between 1980-2009. We focused on studies that assessed hard cardiovascular endpoints in subjects with chronic inflammatory conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, polymyositis/dermatomyositis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Although largely based on small studies, our review indicates that patients with chronic inflammatory conditions are likely at elevated risk for the development of CAD. Further research consisting of prospective cohort studies is needed to better quantify this risk.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors