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Rheumatoid Illness, Smoking Can Harm Heart's
diseases and smoking are both associated with inflammation of the
heart's aorta, the main artery carrying blood to the body, researchers
In turn, aortic inflammation can promote
atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries") and the formation of
aneurysms and increase risks for heart attack and death, according to a
study in the June issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
In the study, American and Norwegian
researchers analyzed samples of aortic tissue from 66 coronary artery
bypass patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease and a control group
of 51 bypass patients without the condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis,
lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and polymyalgia were among the types of
inflammatory rheumatic diseases afflicting the patients in the study.
researchers found that patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease
were more likely than patients in the control group to have
inflammation-related cells in their aortic tissue. Patients who smoked
were also more likely to have these kinds of cells.
"The opportunities for detecting aortic
inflammation are limited," study spokesperson Dr. Ivana Hollan said in
a prepared statement. "Our method of tissue examination allows the
condition to be diagnosed in patients undergoing CABG surgery without
increasing the preoperative risk."
The findings indicate the need for further
research into an inflammatory process that may increase the risk of
dying from a heart attack or aneurysm, the researchers said.
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