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Severity of psoriasis linked to risk of abdominal aneurysm

Danish researchers have found that patients with psoriasis are at elevated risk of developing abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), with the severity of skin disease corresponding with higher risks, according to a paper published online ahead of print in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (Apr. 14, 2016).

Doctors and patients should not consider psoriasis just a skin disease, according to the study’s lead author in a press release. “Psoriasis must be considered as a systemic inflammatory disease rather than an isolated skin disease. Increased awareness on heightened risk of other cardiovascular diseases, including AAA, in patients with psoriasis is also required,” said Usman Khalid, M.D., a PhD fellow in the Department of Cardiology at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital in Denmark.

The investigators identified 59,423 patients with mild psoriasis and 11,566 with severe psoriasis in nationwide Danish registries who presented between 1997 and 2011. Those patients were followed until diagnosis of abdominal aortic aneurysms, death, migration, or the study end date. From that data, the authors found the rate for developing AAA per 10,000 person-years was 3.72 in the general population, 7.30 for patients with mild psoriasis, and 9.87 for those with severe psoriasis.

“Compared to the general population, the adjusted incidence rate ratios were significantly increased for severe psoriasis at 1.67. That’s a 67 per cent greater risk of AAA likelihood for severe psoriasis sufferers,” Dr. Khalid said in the release. “Clinicians need to educate and assist their patients with psoriasis in lifestyle and risk factor modification to facilitate cardiovascular disease risk reduction.”

Dr. Khalid also said that further research is needed to determine whether it is worthwhile for patients with psoriasis to undergo more frequent ultrasonic screening for AAA, and to evaluate the impact of anti-inflammatory psoriasis treatment on AAA risk.

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