Cardiovascular Risks of Pneumonia May Linger for Years

Risk highest in first month after pneumonia but remains 1.5 times higher over subsequent years

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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Older patients hospitalized with pneumonia appear to have an increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from coronary heart disease for years afterward, according to a new study published in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sachin Yende, M.D., an associate professor of critical care medicine and clinical and translational sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues collected data from 5,888 people aged 65 and older who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study and on 15,792 people aged 45 to 64 who enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study.

Over 10 years of follow-up, of 591 people in the cardiovascular study hospitalized with pneumonia, 206 had a myocardial infarction, a stroke, or died from coronary heart disease. Of 680 pneumonia cases among those in the atherosclerosis study, 112 had a myocardial infarction, a stroke, or died from coronary heart disease. Risk was highest in the first month after pneumonia -- four-fold -- but remained 1.5 times higher over subsequent years, the researchers found.

"The risk of heart disease or stroke with pneumonia was similar to the risk seen for other known risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or smoking," Yende told HealthDay.

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