Hospital infections may raise stroke risk, says study

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London, Aug 2 (IANS) Infections acquired from hospital, particularly by people admitted for pneumonia or sepsis, may increase by six-fold their risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, a study has claimed.

The findings showed that cardiovascular risk was more than doubled in years two and three after the infection and persisted for at least five years.

“Severe infections in adulthood are associated with a contemporaneously raised risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Scott Montgomery, Professor at the Orebro University in Sweden.

“Our results indicate that the risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke, increased after hospital admission for sepsis or pneumonia,” added Cecilia Bergh, an affiliated researcher at the varsity.

For the study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the team included 2,36,739 men at around age 18 years, who were followed from late adolescence into middle age.

The results showed that infection was associated with a 6.33-fold raised risk of cardiovascular disease during the first year after the infection.

In the second and third years following an infection, cardiovascular disease risk remained raised by 2.47 and 2.12 times.

Risk decreased with time but was still raised for at least five years after the infection by nearly two-fold (hazard ratio 1.87).

Similar findings were observed for coronary heart disease, stroke, and fatal cardiovascular disease.

“The risk remained notably raised for three years after infection and was still nearly two-fold after five years,” Bergh said.

And although conventional cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, overweight, obesity, poorer physical fitness are important but infection may be the primary source of risk for a limited time, the researchers noted.

“Our findings provide another reason to protect against infection and suggest that there is a post-infection window of increased cardiovascular disease risk,” Montgomery noted.

–IANS

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