It remains unsettled whether alcoholic cirrhosis is a risk factor for myocardial infarction (MI).
We used data from nationwide healthcare registries to study all Danes diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis in 1996-2014, and five controls were matched to each of them on gender and age. We excluded everyone with ischemic heart disease and used Cox regression to estimate the incidence rate ratio of MI adjusted for potential cardiovascular confounders. Further, we described the MI-risk with non-MI death as a competing risk.
We included 22,867 patients (67% men) with a median age of 57 years. During the first year of follow-up, their incidence rate ratio of MI was increased to 1.24 (95% CI: 0.94-1.62), driven by the effect among women (2.13, 95% CI: 1.17-3.87) and those with most severe cirrhosis (1.32, 95% CI: 0.91-1.90). After the first year, the overall incidence rate ratio fell to (0.89, 95% CI: 0.76-1.05). Patients were more likely to die from non-MI causes (33.7% vs. 1.0%), which protected them against MI. The overall 1-year MI-risk was similar in patients and controls: 0.38% (95% CI: 0.30-0.47%) vs. 0.34% (95% CI: 0.31-0.38%). After five years of follow-up, male patients had lower MI-risk than their controls, whereas women with cirrhosis had an increased MI-risk throughout follow-up.
The incidence rate of MI was increased the first year following a diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis, in particular in women and those with most severe liver disease. Due to the competing risk of non-MI mortality, the MI-risk was not increased.
© 2020 Stichting European Society for Clinical Investigation Journal Foundation.