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GPs ‘should screen patients with severe eczema for cardiovascular disease’

Patients with severe eczema are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and AF, according to a study which said GPs should target them for cardiovascular disease prevention programs. 

The research, led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, looked at just under 400,000 adult patients with atopic eczema, comparing them to just over 1,500,000 controls without eczema.

They found that when figures were adjusted to take into account known risk factors such as BMI and smoking history, patients with severe or more active atopic eczema were almost 70% more likely to develop heart failure than patients without eczema and 20% more likely to have a stroke. They were also 40% more likely to have a heart attack.

They said in the paper: ‘Consideration should be given to developing prevention strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among patients with severe or predominantly active atopic eczema, including awareness of and screening for conventional cardiovascular risk factors by those providing clinical care.

‘Current biological treatments for atopic eczema have the potential to greatly change care for those with challenging eczema. The next objective will be to reduce the risk of cardiovascular outcomes.’

BMJ 2018; available online 23rd May


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