Inflammatory bowel disease as a risk factor for premature coronary artery disease

Publication Date

January 2015

Journal Title

J Clin Med Res


BACKGROUND: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are both systemic chronic diseases that alter bowel physiology. The central process in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and the associated manifestations are the result of B-cell production of IgG autoantibodies directed against self-antigens in various organ systems including coronary endothelium. Previous studies have demonstrated significant micro-vascular endothelial dysfunction in patients with IBD compared to patients not affected by the disease. We sought to analyze the relation, if any, between IBD and the development of premature coronary artery disease (CAD). METHODS: We queried our hospital database to find IBD patients admitted to the hospital from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2008. Patients with traditional cardiovascular (CV) disease risk factors including hypertension, congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, age >/= 65, hyperlipidemia, family history, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and greater than five pack-year smoking history were excluded from the study cohort. The charts of the remaining 300 patients with diagnosed IBD were then analyzed for the incidence of CV disease events including acute myocardial infarction (MI), unstable angina, positive stress testing, and any cardiac intervention including coronary angioplasty and/or intracoronary stent implantation. RESULTS: Of the 300 patients included, only one patient had a CV disease event. This patient had a positive exercise stress thallium test. Otherwise, the remaining 299 patients (99.7%) did not have any reported CV disease events over the 2-year follow-up period. CONCLUSION: Most of the clinical sequelae of CV disease events are the result of inflammatory changes at the vascular level. While IBD is associated with a chronic inflammatory state as reflected by high sedimentation rates, C-reactive protein (CRP), homocysteine levels, etc., our data seem to indicate that chronic inflammation in the absence of traditional risk factors is not associated with an increased risk of premature CV disease events. More wide-scale prospective studies should be performed to elucidate the relationship, if any, between chronic inflammation and CV disease risk.

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