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Psoriasis associated with risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms

Researchers from Denmark caution that psoriasis patients might have an increased risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

This research adds significantly to current evidence of psoriasis as a clinically relevant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, said Dr. Usman Khalid, lead author of a report published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (May 2016; 36(5):1043–1048).

“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 abdominal aortic aneurysms, in patients with psoriasis is also required,” said Dr. Khalid, a PhD fellow in the Department of Cardiology, at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital in Hellerup, Denmark.

Researchers analyzed data from a nationwide Denmark cohort database. For the purpose of this study, the investigators reviewed the data and identified 59,423 patients with mild psoriasis and 11,566 patients with severe psoriasis between Jan. 1, 1997 and Dec. 31, 2011.

These patients were followed until diagnosis of abdominal aortic aneurysms, death, migration or the study end date, the authors noted.

Psoriasis severity increased risk

Overall, the findings revealed that the incidence rates of abdominal aortic aneurysms were 3.72, 7.30, and 9.87 per 10,000 person-years for the reference population (23 696 cases), mild psoriasis (240 cases), and severe psoriasis (50 cases), respectively.

“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 abdominal aortic aneurysms likelihood for people with severe psoriasis,” said Dr. Khalid, who was quoted in a press release.

“Clinicians need to educate and assist their patients with psoriasis in lifestyle and risk factor modification to facilitate cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” added Dr. Khalid.

The authors concluded that the mechanisms and consequences of this novel finding require further investigation.

The further investigation should help to determine whether patients with psoriasis should undergo increased ultrasonic screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, and whether anti-inflammatory treatment of psoriasis may reduce the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm, Dr. Khalid said.

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