HealthDay News — There is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease following hospital admission for sepsis or pneumonia that persists for at least 5 years after the infection, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Cecilia Bergh, PhD, from Örebro University in Sweden, and colleagues followed 236,739 men (born between 1952 and 1956) from conscription assessments in adolescence to 2010 to assess whether hospital admission for sepsis or pneumonia is associated with persistent increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that sepsis and pneumonia in adulthood (resulting in hospital admission) are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the years following infection.

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While the first year after infection has the highest risk (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 6.33), an increased risk persists for the second (aHR, 2.47) and third year (aHR, 2.12) after infection. While lessening with time, the risk remains raised for at least  years after infection (aHR, 1.87). The results include adjustments for characteristics in childhood, cardiovascular risk factors, and adolescent medical history. Coronary heart disease and stroke have similar statistically significant associations.

“Raised risks of cardiovascular disease following hospital admission for sepsis or pneumonia were increased for more than five years after the infection, but with the highest magnitude during the first three years following infection, suggesting a period of vulnerability when health professionals and patients should be aware of the heightened risk for cardiovascular disease,” the authors write.

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Bergh C, Fall K, Udumyan R, Sjogvist H, Frobert O, Montgomery S. Severe infections and subsequent delayed cardiovascular disease. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2017 Jan 1:2047487317724009.