Objective: It is unclear whether isolated cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) affects cardiovascular risk. We estimated the cumulative incidence and mortality of cardiovascular diseases in a population-based CLE cohort and compared the risk with a matched non-CLE cohort. Methods: All incident cases of CLE in Olmsted County, Minnesota, between 1965 and 2005 were followed until December 2013. The cumulative incidence of cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs [including stroke and transient ischemic attack]), ischemic heart disease (IHD [including coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, and angina pectoris]), heart failure, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) was derived and compared to an age-, sex-, and calendar year–matched non-CLE cohort using Cox models. Results: There were 155 patients with CLE (mean ± SD age at diagnosis 48 ± 16 years, 65% female, mean ± SD BMI 26.3 ± 7.1 kg/m2, 40% smokers, 9% with diabetes mellitus). During a median followup of 14.6 years, 41 CLE patients had cardiovascular events (15 patients with CVAs, 32 patients with IHD), with a 20-year cumulative incidence of 31.6%. As compared to non-CLE subjects, the risk of CVAs (smoking-adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 2.97 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.13–7.78]) and PAD (HR 2.06 [95% CI 0.99–4.32]) was increased in patients with CLE, but the risk of IHD was not increased (HR 0.94 [95% CI 0.57–1.54]). There was no increase in cardiovascular mortality (HR 1.68 [95% CI 0.76–3.75]). The magnitude of risk for any cardiovascular outcome was not significantly influenced by the extent of cutaneous involvement. Conclusion: CLE may be associated with an increased risk of CVAs and PAD, but not IHD. Factors contributing to increased CVA risk in patients with CLE merit evaluation.
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