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Am J Epidemiol. 1999 Sep 1;150(5):482-91.

Eosinophilia and positive skin tests predict cardiovascular mortality in a general population sample followed for 30 years.

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  • 1Dept. of Epidemiology and Statistics, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


The authors investigated whether two objective allergy markers, peripheral blood eosinophilia and skin tests for common aeroallergens, were associated with cardiovascular death. Of 5,382 subjects in the Vlagtwedde-Vlaardingen Study (the Netherlands) with data on allergy markers in 1965-1972, 507 subjects died from cardiovascular disease during 30 years of follow-up. Subjects with eosinophilia had an increased risk of cardiovascular death (relative risk (RR) = 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.4, 2.2), including ischemic heart disease death (RR = 1.6; 95% CI: 1.2, 2.2) and cerebrovascular death (RR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.4, 3.8), independent of major risk factors. This association was limited to subjects with a percentage of the predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1 % predicted) of <100%. Positive skin tests were associated with a significantly reduced cardiovascular mortality in subjects with normal lung function and weight who did not smoke (RR = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.46). Conversely, when subjects with positive skin tests had a body mass index of > or =25 kg/m2, had an FEV1 % predicted of <80%, or smoked, they had an increased risk for cardiovascular mortality. These results were not restricted to asthmatics. Our data suggest a possible link between eosinophilia and positive skin tests and cardiovascular mortality, especially in combination with other risk factors associated with its mortality.

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