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Reuters Health Information (2008-12-05): Primary biliary cirrhosis does not raise risk of MI, stroke: study


Primary biliary cirrhosis does not raise risk of MI, stroke: study

Last Updated: 2008-12-05 19:32:17 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) are not at higher risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events than the general population, a study from the UK suggests.

Dr. Masoud Solaymani-Dodaran from the University of Nottingham, first author on the report, told Reuters Health that in general, when it comes to preventing vascular events in patients with PBC, doctors should "treat them as everybody else. As a group, PBC patients are similar to the general population."

Hypercholesterolemia is a common finding in patients with PBC, the study team notes in the November issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. However, whether hypercholesterolemia contributes to the threefold higher mortality in these patients compared to the general population is not clear.

To investigate, Dr. Solaymani-Dodaran and colleagues studied 930 patients with PBC and 9,202 age- and sex-matched controls. Over approximately 43,700 person-years of follow up, the subjects experienced 244 myocardial infarctions (MI), 591 strokes, and 221 transient ischemic attacks (TIA).

"PBC was not associated with an increased risk of MI, stroke or TIA in this cohort," the investigators report. In adjusted analyses, incidence rates for these events were similar in the two study groups.

"There are still some doctors who might think people with PBC need special treatment with regard to their risk of cardiovascular disease because of their usually high blood cholesterol level," Dr. Solaymani-Dodaran said. "Our study using a very large population based cohort of PBC patients showed that this is not the case."

"This of course does not mean that if they have high blood pressure or they are overweight or smokers, they are still immune from getting heart disease or stroke," the researcher emphasized. "Therefore attention to other risk factors is advisable in assessing risk of vascular events in PBC patients."

Am J Gastroenterol 2008; 103:2784-2788.

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