No increased rate of acute myocardial infarction or stroke among patients with ankylosing spondylitis-a retrospective cohort study using routine data

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Oct;42(2):140-5. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2012.02.008. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Objectives: To examine if people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) are at higher risk of acute myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke compared to those without AS.

Methods: Primary care records were linked with all hospital admissions and deaths caused by MI or stroke in Wales for the years 1999-2010. The linked data were then stratified by AS diagnosis and survival analysis was used to obtain the incidence rate of MI and separately cerebrovascular disease (CVD)/stroke. Cox regression was used to adjust for gender and age. Logistic regression was used to examine prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia for those with AS compared to those without.

Results: There were 1686 AS patients (75.9% male, average age 46.1 years) compared to 1,206,621 controls (48.9% male, average age 35.9 years). Age- and gender-adjusted hazard ratios for MI were 1.28 (95% CI: 0.93 to 1.74) P = 0.12, and for CVD/stroke 1.0 (95% CI: 0.73 to 1.39) P = 0.9, in AS compared to controls. The prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, but not hyperlipidemia/hypercholesterolemia, was higher in AS.

Conclusions: There is no increase in the MI or CVD/stroke rates in patients with AS compared to those without AS, despite higher rates of hypertension, which may be related to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / diagnosis
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Survival Rate
  • Wales / epidemiology