Severe and predominantly active atopic eczema in adulthood and long term risk of cardiovascular disease: population based cohort study

Objective To investigate whether adults with atopic eczema are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and whether the risk varies by atopic eczema severity and condition activity over time.

Design Population based matched cohort study.

Setting UK electronic health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, Hospital Episode Statistics, and data from the Office for National Statistics, 1998–2015.

Participants Adults with a diagnosis of atopic eczema, matched (on age, sex, general practice, and calendar time) to up to five patients without atopic eczema.

Main outcome measures Cardiovascular outcomes (myocardial infarction, unstable angina, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and cardiovascular death).

Results 387 439 patients with atopic eczema were matched to 1 528 477 patients without atopic eczema. The median age was 43 at cohort entry and 66% were female. Median follow-up was 5.1 years. Evidence of a 10% to 20% increased hazard for the non-fatal primary outcomes for patients with atopic eczema was found by using Cox regression stratified by matched set. There was a strong dose-response relation with severity of atopic eczema. Patients with severe atopic eczema had a 20% increase in the risk of stroke (hazard ratio 1.22, 99% confidence interval 1.01 to 1.48), 40% to 50% increase in the risk of myocardial infarction, unstable angina, atrial fibrillation, and cardiovascular death, and 70% increase in the risk of heart failure (hazard ratio 1.69, 99% confidence interval 1.38 to 2.06). Patients with the most active atopic eczema (active >50% of follow-up) were also at a greater risk of cardiovascular outcomes. Additional adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors as potential mediators partially attenuated the point estimates, though associations persisted for severe atopic eczema.

Conclusions Severe and predominantly active atopic eczema are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular outcomes. Targeting cardiovascular disease prevention strategies among these patients should be considered.

Reference: BMJ 2018;361:k1786


Cardiovascular disease risk prediction equations in 400 000 primary care patients in New Zealand: a derivation and validation study


Most cardiovascular disease risk prediction equations in use today were derived from cohorts established last century and with participants at higher risk but less socioeconomically and ethnically diverse than patients they are now applied to. We recruited a nationally representative cohort in New Zealand to develop equations relevant to patients in contemporary primary care and compared the performance of these new equations to equations that are recommended in the USA.


The PREDICT study automatically recruits participants in routine primary care when general practitioners in New Zealand use PREDICT software to assess their patients’ risk profiles for cardiovascular disease, which are prospectively linked to national ICD-coded hospitalisation and mortality databases. The study population included male and female patients in primary care who had no prior cardiovascular disease, renal disease, or congestive heart failure. New equations predicting total cardiovascular disease risk were developed using Cox regression models, which included clinical predictors plus an area-based deprivation index and self-identified ethnicity. Calibration and discrimination performance of the equations were assessed and compared with 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Pooled Cohort Equations (PCEs). The additional predictors included in new PREDICT equations were also appended to the PCEs to determine whether they were independent predictors in the equations from the USA.


Outcome events were derived for 401 752 people aged 30–74 years at the time of their first PREDICT risk assessment between Aug 27, 2002, and Oct 12, 2015, representing about 90% of the eligible population. The mean follow-up was 4·2 years, and a third of participants were followed for 5 years or more. 15 386 (4%) people had cardiovascular disease events (1507 [10%] were fatal, and 8549 [56%] met the PCEs definition of hard atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) during 1 685 521 person-years follow-up. The median 5-year risk of total cardiovascular disease events predicted by the new equations was 2·3% in women and 3·2% in men. Multivariable adjusted risk increased by about 10% per quintile of socioeconomic deprivation. Māori, Pacific, and Indian patients were at 13–48% higher risk of cardiovascular disease than Europeans, and Chinese or other Asians were at 25–33% lower risk of cardiovascular disease than Europeans. The PCEs overestimated of hard atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease by about 40% in men and by 60% in women, and the additional predictors in the new equations were also independent predictors in the PCEs. The new equations were significantly better than PCEs on all performance metrics.


We constructed a large prospective cohort study representing typical patients in primary care in New Zealand who were recommended for cardiovascular disease risk assessment. Most patients are now at low risk of cardiovascular disease, which explains why the PCEs based mainly on old cohorts substantially overestimate risk. Although the PCEs and many other equations will need to be recalibrated to mitigate overtreatment of the healthy majority, they also need new predictors that include measures of socioeconomic deprivation and multiple ethnicities to identify vulnerable high-risk subpopulations that might otherwise be undertreated.


Health Research Council of New Zealand, Heart Foundation of New Zealand, and Healthier Lives National Science Challenge.

Reference: The Lancet, Volume 391, No. 10133, p1897–1907, 12 May 2018

Association Between Baseline LDL-C Level and Total and Cardiovascular Mortality After LDL-C Lowering

Question  Does the magnitude of reductions in total and cardiovascular mortality after low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering depend on the baseline LDL-C level?

Findings  In this meta-analysis of 34 randomized clinical trials that included 270 288 participants, more intensive LDL-C–lowering therapy was associated with a progressive reduction in total mortality with higher baseline LDL-C levels (rate ratio, 0.91 for each 40-mg/dL increase in baseline level); however, this relationship was not present with baseline LDL-C levels less than 100 mg/dL. There was a similar relationship for cardiovascular mortality.

Meaning  The greatest benefit from LDL-C–lowering therapy may occur for patients with baseline LDL-C levels of 100 mg/dL or greater.

Reference: JAMA. 2018;319(15):1566-1579.

Cardiovascular outcomes associated with canagliflozin versus other non-gliflozin antidiabetic drugs: population based cohort study

Objective To evaluate the cardiovascular safety of canagliflozin, a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, in direct comparisons with DPP-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i), GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RA), or sulfonylureas, as used in routine practice.

Design Population based retrospective cohort study.

Setting Nationwide sample of patients with type 2 diabetes from a large de-identified US commercial healthcare database (Optum Clinformatics Datamart).

Participants Three pairwise 1:1 propensity score matched cohorts of patients with type 2 diabetes 18 years and older who initiated canagliflozin or a comparator non-gliflozin antidiabetic agent (ie, a DPP-4i, a GLP-1RA, or a sulfonylurea) between April 2013 and September 2015.

Main outcome measures The primary outcomes were heart failure admission to hospital and a composite cardiovascular endpoint (comprised of being admitted to hospital for acute myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or hemorrhagic stroke). Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated in each propensity score matched cohort controlling for more than 100 baseline characteristics.

Results During a 30 month period, the hazard ratio for heart failure admission to hospital associated with canagliflozin was 0.70 (95% confidence interval 0.54 to 0.92) versus a DPP-4i (n=17 667 pairs), 0.61 (0.47 to 0.78) versus a GLP-1RA (20 539), and 0.51 (0.38 to 0.67) versus a sulfonylurea (17 354 ). The hazard ratio for the composite cardiovascular endpoint associated with canagliflozin was 0.89 (0.68 to 1.17) versus a DPP-4i, 1.03 (0.79 to 1.35) versus a GLP-1RA, and 0.86 (0.65 to 1.13) versus a sulfonylurea. Results were similar in sensitivity analyses further adjusting for baseline hemoglobin A1c levels and in subgroups of patients with and without prior cardiovascular disease or heart failure.

Conclusions In this large cohort study, canagliflozin was associated with a lower risk of heart failure admission to hospital and with a similar risk of myocardial infarction or stroke in direct comparisons with three different classes of non-gliflozin diabetes treatment alternatives as used in routine care.

Reference: BMJ 2018;360:k119

Migraine and risk of cardiovascular diseases: Danish population based matched cohort study

Objective To examine the risks of myocardial infarction, stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic), peripheral artery disease, venous thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and heart failure in patients with migraine and in a general population comparison cohort.

Design Nationwide, population based cohort study.

Setting All Danish hospitals and hospital outpatient clinics from 1995 to 2013.

Participants 51 032 patients with migraine and 510 320 people from the general population matched on age, sex, and calendar year.

Main outcome measures Comorbidity adjusted hazard ratios of cardiovascular outcomes based on Cox regression analysis.

Results Higher absolute risks were observed among patients with incident migraine than in the general population across most outcomes and follow-up periods. After 19 years of follow-up, the cumulative incidences per 1000 people for the migraine cohort compared with the general population were 25 v 17 for myocardial infarction, 45 v 25 for ischaemic stroke, 11 v 6 for haemorrhagic stroke, 13 v 11 for peripheral artery disease, 27 v 18 for venous thromboembolism, 47 v 34 for atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and 19 v 18 for heart failure. Correspondingly, migraine was positively associated with myocardial infarction (adjusted hazard ratio 1.49, 95% confidence interval 1.36 to 1.64), ischaemic stroke (2.26, 2.11 to 2.41), and haemorrhagic stroke (1.94, 1.68 to 2.23), as well as venous thromboembolism (1.59, 1.45 to 1.74) and atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter (1.25, 1.16 to 1.36). No meaningful association was found with peripheral artery disease (adjusted hazard ratio 1.12, 0.96 to 1.30) or heart failure (1.04, 0.93 to 1.16). The associations, particularly for stroke outcomes, were stronger during the short term (0-1 years) after diagnosis than the long term (up to 19 years), in patients with aura than in those without aura, and in women than in men. In a subcohort of patients, the associations persisted after additional multivariable adjustment for body mass index and smoking.

Conclusions Migraine was associated with increased risks of myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke, venous thromboembolism, and atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. Migraine may be an important risk factor for most cardiovascular diseases.

Reference: BMJ 2018;360:k96

Rivaroxaban with or without aspirin in patients with stable peripheral or carotid artery disease: an international, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial


Patients with peripheral artery disease have an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Antiplatelet agents are widely used to reduce these complications.


This was a multicentre, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial for which patients were recruited at 602 hospitals, clinics, or community practices from 33 countries across six continents. Eligible patients had a history of peripheral artery disease of the lower extremities (previous peripheral bypass surgery or angioplasty, limb or foot amputation, intermittent claudication with objective evidence of peripheral artery disease), of the carotid arteries (previous carotid artery revascularisation or asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis of at least 50%), or coronary artery disease with an ankle–brachial index of less than 0·90. After a 30-day run-in period, patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) to receive oral rivaroxaban (2·5 mg twice a day) plus aspirin (100 mg once a day), rivaroxaban twice a day (5 mg with aspirin placebo once a day), or to aspirin once a day (100 mg and rivaroxaban placebo twice a day). Randomisation was computer generated. Each treatment group was double dummy, and the patient, investigators, and central study staff were masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcome was cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction or stroke; the primary peripheral artery disease outcome was major adverse limb events including major amputation. This trial is registered with, number NCT01776424, and is closed to new participants.


Between March 12, 2013, and May 10, 2016, we enrolled 7470 patients with peripheral artery disease from 558 centres. The combination of rivaroxaban plus aspirin compared with aspirin alone reduced the composite endpoint of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke (126 [5%] of 2492 vs174 [7%] of 2504; hazard ratio [HR] 0·72, 95% CI 0·57–0·90, p=0·0047), and major adverse limb events including major amputation (32 [1%] vs 60 [2%]; HR 0·54 95% CI 0·35–0·82, p=0·0037). Rivaroxaban 5 mg twice a day compared with aspirin alone did not significantly reduce the composite endpoint (149 [6%] of 2474 vs 174 [7%] of 2504; HR 0·86, 95% CI 0·69–1·08, p=0·19), but reduced major adverse limb events including major amputation (40 [2%] vs 60 [2%]; HR 0·67, 95% CI 0·45–1·00, p=0·05). The median duration of treatment was 21 months. The use of the rivaroxaban plus aspirin combination increased major bleeding compared with the aspirin alone group (77 [3%] of 2492 vs 48 [2%] of 2504; HR 1·61, 95% CI 1·12–2·31, p=0·0089), which was mainly gastrointestinal. Similarly, major bleeding occurred in 79 (3%) of 2474 patients with rivaroxaban 5 mg, and in 48 (2%) of 2504 in the aspirin alone group (HR 1·68, 95% CI 1·17–2·40; p=0·0043).


Low-dose rivaroxaban taken twice a day plus aspirin once a day reduced major adverse cardiovascular and limb events when compared with aspirin alone. Although major bleeding was increased, fatal or critical organ bleeding was not. This combination therapy represents an important advance in the management of patients with peripheral artery disease. Rivaroxaban alone did not significantly reduce major adverse cardiovascular events compared with asprin alone, but reduced major adverse limb events and increased major bleeding.

NHS Health Check

Public Health England (PHE) has published NHS Health Check: stocktake and action plan.  This report provides a stocktake of the NHS Health Check programme as PHE approaches the end of the first 5-year cycle of the programme and outlines an action plan for the next cycle.  PHE has also published Using the NHS Health Check programme to prevent CVD which explores how the NHS Health Check is playing and important role in the prevention and early detection of cardiovascular disease.