People with autoimmune disease at higher risk of death by heart attack, study suggests

Cleveland Clinic researchers found that people with an autoimmune disease are 15 percent more likely to die from any cause after a heart attack, and 12 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart failure.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association on Sept. 14, compared medical records of 59,820 people 65 and older who had heart attacks and inflammation-causing autoimmune disorders to 178,547 heart attack patients without autoimmune conditions. Patients were followed for two years after their heart attack.

The analysis showed that in addition to the increased risk of death and hospitalization, people with an autoimmune disease were 8 percent more likely to have another heart attack and 6 percent more likely to need a second procedure to open their arteries if they had one before the heart attack.

Patients with autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disorders should be managed by a cardio-rheumatologist working with a rheumatologist, lead study author Heba Wassif, MD, said in the AMA release.

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