Objectives: Acute systemic inflammation and chronic systemic vasculitis are associated with endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerotic plaque formation. Studies on cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events in primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) are limited, with conflicting results. This meta-analysis aimed to explore the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease in pSS.
Methods: A comprehensive search of the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases was performed from date of inception through August 2017. The inclusion criterion was observational studies evaluating the association between pSS and cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular event. Outcomes are diagnosis of ischaemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke or haemorrhagic stroke. The pooled odds ratio (OR) of the cerebrovascular event or cardiovascular disease and their 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated using a random-effect meta-analysis to compare risk between patients with pSS and controls. The between-study heterogeneity of effect-size was quantified using the Q statistic and I2.
Results: Data were extracted from 10 observational studies involving 165,291 subjects. Pooled result demonstrated a significant increase in risk of having cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular event in pSS patients compared with controls (OR=1.28; 95% CI: 0.11-1.46, p value<0.01, I2=68%). Subgroup analyses showed no difference in risk for cerebrovascular event (OR=1.31; 95% CI: 0.96-1.79, p value=0.09, I2=71%), but an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (OR=1.30; 95% CI: 1.09-1.55, p value=0.003, I2=74%).
Conclusions: Our study has shown an increased risk of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease in patients with pSS. These results support multiple studies' finding of increased arterial stiffness in patients with pSS.