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Background Cardiovascular involvement in systemic sclerosis (SSc) comprises a wide range of manifestations with prevalence and incidence that remain uncertain. Methods and Results In the Danish administrative registries between 1995 and 2015, all patients aged ≥18 years with a first diagnosis of SSc were matched by age and sex with controls (1:5) from the general population. Prevalence of cardiovascular diseases at the time of the SSc diagnosis and incidence during follow-up were assessed by in- and outpatient discharge diagnoses. Conditional logistic and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used respectively to calculate odds ratios for prevalent cardiovascular diseases and hazard ratios (HRs) for incident diseases associated with SSc. Patients with SSc (n=2778; 76% women; mean±SD age: 55±15 years) had more established cardiovascular risk factors than their respective controls at baseline, including greater prevalence of hypertension (31.2% versus 21.0%, P<0.0001) and treated dyslipidemia (9.8% versus 8.5%, P=0.02). SSc was associated with an increased relative risk of developing most cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction (HR: 2.08; 95% CI, 1.65-2.64), peripheral vascular disease (HR: 5.73; 95% CI, 4.63-7.09), pulmonary hypertension (HR: 21.18; 95% CI, 14.73-30.45), mitral regurgitation (HR: 4.60; 95% CI, 3.12-6.79), aortic regurgitation (HR: 3.78; 95% CI, 2.55-5.58), aortic stenosis (HR: 2.99; 95% CI, 2.25-3.97), pericarditis (HR: 8.78; 95% CI, 4.84-15.93), heart failure (HR: 2.86; 95% CI, 2.43-3.37), atrial fibrillation (HR: 1.75; 95% CI, 1.51-2.04), and venous thromboembolism (HR: 2.10; 95% CI, 1.65-2.67). Additional adjustment for medications and comorbidities yielded results similar to the main analyses. Conclusions In this nationwide study, SSc was associated with greater risks of distinct cardiovascular diseases for patients than for matched controls, suggesting a significant disease-related adverse impact across the vascular bed and specific cardiac structures.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of the American Heart Association

Publication Date





e013405 - e013405


Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology Amager Hvidovre Hospital Glostrup Denmark.