Pneumonia Hospitalization Raises Cardiovascular Disease Risk

January 22, 2015
Eileen Oldfield Associate Editor

Hospitalization for pneumonia increases a patient's risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a paper published in the January 20, 2015 edition of JAMA.

Hospitalization for pneumonia increases a patient’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a paper published in the January 20, 2015, edition of JAMA.

That CVD risk rises even more if cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension or smoking are also present.

“The main conclusion from our study is that someone hospitalized for pneumonia should be considered a greater risk of developing CVD,” said lead study author Dr. Vicente Corrales-Medina, MD, assistant professor with the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine, in a press release.

Researchers examined 3813 records from 2 US-based community health studies, including health data of 1271 pneumonia patients and 2542 age-matched controls. Their paper examined pneumonia patients without a history of CVD, as well as the effects of established cardiovascular risk factors.

The results of the 10-year analysis demonstrated greater CVD risk among those hospitalized for pneumonia, with the highest risk occurring in the year following initial infection.

The study cohorts included participants aged 65 years and older and participants aged 45 to 64 years. In the former group, those who had pneumonia were 4 times more likely to develop CVD in the month following their infection. At the 10-year mark after infection, they were slightly less than twice as likely to develop CVD.

Meanwhile, participants aged 45 to 64 years had a higher CVD risk in the first 2 years following infection, although their risk was not significantly higher after 2 years. Participants in that age group were 2.4 times more likely to develop CVD in the month and a half following initial infection, the researchers found.

“This…provides yet another reason to do everything we can to prevent pneumonia from occurring in the community, through vaccination and basic hygiene, for example,” Dr. Corrales-Medina explained. “This is especially important for the elderly and those with other risk factors for CVD, such as diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol.”

In light of the findings, Dr. Corrales-Medina suggested that a patient’s care plan after hospital discharge should incorporate cardiac screening and primary prevention strategies.