HealthDay News — Dog ownership is associated with better outcomes after a major cardiovascular event as well as a reduced risk for all-cause mortality, according to a cohort study and a meta-analysis published online Oct. 8 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Mwenya Mubanga, M.D., Ph.D., from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues followed patients aged 40 to 85 years presenting with an acute myocardial infarction (181,696 patients; 5.7 percent dog owners) or ischemic stroke (154,617 patients; 4.8 percent dog owners). The researchers found that during the 804,137 person-year follow-up period, dog owners had a lower risk for death after hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction, with adjusted hazard ratios of 0.67 and 0.85 for those who lived alone and for those living with a partner or child, respectively. Dog owners also had a lower risk for death during 638,219 person-years of follow-up after ischemic stroke (corresponding adjusted hazard ratios, 0.73 and 0.88, respectively).
Caroline K. Kramer, M.D., Ph.D., from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the correlation of dog ownership with all-cause mortality using data from 10 studies with 3,837,005 participants. The researchers found that compared with nonownership, dog ownership correlated with a significantly reduced risk for all-cause mortality (relative risk, 0.76); the risk reduction was greater in individuals with prior coronary events (relative risk, 0.35). Dog ownership conferred a significant risk reduction for cardiovascular death when restricting analyses to studies assessing cardiovascular mortality (relative risk, 0.69).
“These findings should encourage clinicians to discuss pet adoption with their patients, particularly those with preexisting cardiovascular disease and those living by themselves,” writes the author of an accompanying editorial.
One author from the Mubanga study disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry; one author from the Kramer study disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.