Infectious Disease

Shingles associated with long-term risk for major CV events

December 10, 2022

2 min read

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Disclosures:
Curhan reports receiving an investigator-initiated grant from GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA to examine the long-term outcomes potentially associated with herpes zoster. Please see study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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Compared with those without it, adults with herpes zoster, also known as shingles, had higher long-term risk for a major CV event, researchers reported.

“These findings suggest there are long-term cardiovascular implications of herpes zoster,” Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues wrote. “The availability of a safe and effective vaccine provides an opportunity to reduce the burden of herpes zoster and reduce the risk of subsequent cardiovascular complications.”

Source: Adobe Stock.

Compared with those without it, adults with herpes zoster, also known as shingles, had higher long-term risk for a major CV event.
Source: Adobe Stock

The study included 205,030 adults: 79,658 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS; 2000-2016), 93,932 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II; 2001-2017) and 31,440 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HFPS; 2004-2016). Individuals were questioned about the year of their clinician-diagnosed herpes zoster.

Participants included information about herpes zoster, CHD and stroke on biennial questionnaires, and the information was confirmed by medical record review.

A history of herpes zoster was significantly and independently associated with higher long-term risk for incident stroke. During more than 2 million person-years of follow-up, there were 2,461 cases of stroke incidents among women in NHS, 605 among men in HPFS and 537 among women in NHS II.

Compared with individuals with no history of herpes zoster, the multivariate HRs for incident stroke were 1.05 (95% CI, 0.88-1.25) for those with 1 to 4 years since herpes zoster, 1.38 (95% CI, 1.1-1.74) for those with 5 to 8 years since herpes zoster, 1.28 (95% CI, 1.03-1.59) for those with 9 to 12 years since herpes zoster and 1.19 (95% CI, 0.9-1.56) among those with at least 13 years since herpes zoster .

A history of herpes zoster was also significantly and independently associated with higher long-term risk for CHD. During follow-up, there were 4,910 cases of incident CHD among women in the NHS, 1,183 cases among women in the NHS II and 2,527 cases among men in the HPFS.

Compared with individuals with no history of herpes zoster, the multivariate HRs for incident CHD were 1.13 (95% CI, 1.01-1.27) among those with 1 to 4 years since herpes zoster, 1.16 (1.02-1.32) among those with 5 to 8 years since herpes zoster, 1.25 (95% CI, 1.07-1.46) among those with 9 to 12 years since herpes zoster and 1 (95% CI, 0.83-1.21) among those with at least 13 years since herpes zoster.

“These findings suggest there are long-term implications of herpes zoster and underscore the importance of public health efforts for prevention,” Curhan and colleagues wrote.

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