according to a case-control study published online May 23 in .
In a population-based cohort study, researchers compared the electronic health records of 387,439 adults with eczema and 1,528,477 patients without eczema in the United Kingddom, matched according to age, sex, general practice, and calendar time, during 1998-2015. Patients were followed up for a median of 5.1 years
With the exception of cardiovascular death, atopic eczema was associated with all cardiovascular outcomes (MI, unstable angina, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke). The associations were stronger for severe atopic eczema, with significantly higher risks of MI, unstable angina, atrial fibrillation, stroke, cardiovascular death, and coronary revascularization among individuals with severe atopic eczema, compared with controls.
After adjustment for potential mediators such as body mass index, smoking, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and severe alcohol use, individuals with severe eczema had a significant 37% increased risk of MI, 67% greater risk of heart failure, 35% greater risk of atrial fibrillation, 30% greater risk of cardiovascular death, and 36% greater risk of coronary revascularization, compared with controls with no eczema.
Increased cardiovascular risks also were seen in individuals whose atopic eczema was active more than half the time at follow-up. This group had a 37% greater risk of heart failure, 36% greater risk of unstable angina, and 19% greater risk of stroke, as well as significantly elevated risks of MI, atrial fibrillation, cardiovascular death, and coronary revascularization, compared with those without eczema.
Overall, atopic eczema contributed around 2.4% of the population-attributable risk for unstable angina, and 1.9% for heart failure (the highest population attributable risks). Ethnicity or high-dose corticosteroid use did not significantly impact outcomes.
, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and his coauthors wrote that previous work examining the relationship between atopic eczema and cardiovascular disease had shown inconsistent outcomes, with some studies even pointing to a possible protective effect of mild atopic eczema.