Patients hospitalized in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease may be at higher risk of developing life-threatening pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the main artery of the lung, warns a new study.
When conducting the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 500,000 patients admitted in hospitals for Sweden with one of the 33 autoimmune diseases, which may also include graves ' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and chronic rheumatic heart disease.
The group, headed by Dr. Bengt Zoller, Malmo University hospital in Sweden, found the overall risk of pulmonary embolism within 12 months after admission to six times higher in patients with autoimmune diseases than for those who do not suffer from this disorder.
The increase in risk did decrease over time, but remained far above the rest of the sample. The researchers noted that the risks were the same for men and women, and do not differ in different age groups.
The Zoller and colleagues noted in a press release: "Preventive measures against pulmonary embolism can be justified in patients who are admitted with autoimmune diseases or, at least, for those disorders for which the risk of pulmonary embolism was the most high. Further research is needed to assess the potential utility of this method.