Allergic Rhinitis Linked to Reduced Risk of MI, Cerebrovascular Disease: Presented at AAAAI

By Nancy A. Melville

SAN DIEGO -- March 3, 2014 -- Patients with allergic rhinitis show a decreased risk of acute myocardial infarction (MI), cerebrovascular disease, and all-cause mortality, researchers said here on March 1 at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

The findings are unexpected in light of previous research linking asthma to an increased risk of cardiovascular events, according to Angelina M. Crans Yoon, MD, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

“Other research in the field has studied the relationship between asthma and heart disease, finding that patients with asthma have increased cardiovascular events,” she said in a press statement. “Yet the relationship between allergic rhinitis and heart disease is mostly unknown, which is why we wanted to learn more.”

For the study, the researchers evaluated a database of 109,229 patients with allergic rhinitis and 92,775 patients with asthma from Southern California.

In matching each patient with a control patient according to age, sex, and ethnicity, the researchers found that patients with allergic rhinitis had a significantly lower risk of acute MI (hazard ratio [HR], 0.75) as well as cerebrovascular disease (HR, 0.81), and all-cause mortality (HR, 0.51).

However, the risk of all cardiovascular events among those with allergic rhinitis was equivalent to the control cohort (HR, 0.97).

Consistent with previous findings, patients with asthma had significantly higher risk of all cardiovascular disease (HR, 1.36), but had no significant increased risk of cerebrovascular disease (HR, 1.03) or all-cause mortality (HR, 1.00).

Dr. Crans Yoon noted that the findings raise important questions about differences in how asthma and allergic rhinitis are associated with heart disease.

“More research is needed but considering the lower risk of heart attacks found in the patients with allergic rhinitis,” she said. “It suggests that the genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases may not be contributing to the increased risk of heart disease observed in patients with asthma.”

[Presentation title: Allergic Rhinitis, Asthma and Cardiovascular Disease. Abstract 811]

To read more Conference Dispatch articles, click here.