Increased risk of blood clots on the lung for patients with autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks the body, are fairly common. Thyroid diseases, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease are some examples. Autoimmune diseases are associated with increased inflammation in the tissue, which in some cases is linked to an increased propensity to develop clots in the veins.

"The most dangerous complication of a blood clot is a blood clot on the lung", says Associate Professor Bengt Zöller, who is the principal investigator for the study, which was carried out at the Centre for Primary Health Care Research in Malmö, Sweden.

The study involved 535 000 patients who had been admitted to hospital for 33 different autoimmune diseases. The risk of a blood clot on the lung was compared with the risk for individuals who had not been admitted to hospital for an autoimmune disease. The risk was adjusted to account for other diseases, age and socioeconomic factors. The results show that 31 of the 33 autoimmune diseases studied were associated with an increased risk of a blood clot on the lung.

"The risk was particularly high in the first year – around six times higher on average in all the groups with autoimmune diseases compared with the control group. For some of the diseases, the risk was even higher in the first year", says Bengt Zöller.

The diseases that stand out are idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (lack of platelets caused by an immune response), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), polymyositis (muscle inflammation), dermatomyositis (skin and muscle inflammation) and polyarteritis nodosa ( in medium-sized arteries), which all had at least a tenfold risk increase. , a relatively common disease, was associated with a sevenfold increase in the risk of a blood clot on the lung. entailed a sixfold increase in the risk of a blood clot on the lung in the first year following hospital treatment.

"The risk of a blood clot fell with time. It was still around 50 per cent higher after 1-5 years, yet there remained an increased risk for up to ten years after the first admission to hospital for many autoimmune conditions", stresses Bengt Zöller.

The research suggests that it is possible that patients who have been admitted to hospital for require preventive treatment for in the same way as following major surgery.

"However, further controlled studies are needed to determine the effect of preventive treatment", says Bengt Zöller.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Risk of blood clots in veins hereditary

May 31, 2011

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the third most common type of cardiovascular disease after coronary heart disease and stroke. Researchers at the Centre for Primary Health Care Research in Malmo have mapped the significance ...

Recommended for you

New technology allows hair to reflect almost any color

17 hours ago

What if you could alter your hair to reflect any color in the spectrum? What if you could use a flatiron to press a pattern into your new hair color? Those are possibilities suggested by researchers from ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ironjustice
not rated yet Nov 28, 2011
If one looks at the markers in all of the diseases one sees a couple of similarities between the diseases. Either red blood cell destruction and / or high oxidative stress in all the diseases. In pupura one has evidence of red blood cell 'garbage' therefore destruction / porphyrins. In hemolytic anemia / red blood cell lysis we have an increase of released iron from the destroyed red blood cell. In lupus the markers point to increased red blood cell destruction but diagnosticians in the vast majority diagnose iron DEFICIENCY. The increased destruction of red blood cells leads to increased oxidation due to the released iron from the destroyed red blood cells which leads to a high state of oxidation in which the body is unable to mount an EFFECTIVE anti-oxidative defence.
"These data strongly suggest that a deficiency in detoxification and increased oxidative stress can result in the development of a systemic autoimmune disease."
ziphead
not rated yet Nov 28, 2011
"Increased risk of blood clots on the lung for patients with autoimmune diseases"

This should come as surprise only to those who:
1. slept through pathology lectures and tutorials
2. did not take the subject in the first place