The increased risk of arteriosclerosis in patients with psoriasis can be reduced by effective treatment of the inflammatory condition caused by the skin disease. This is shown in a new study by researchers from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

Patients with psoriasis suffer from itching, erythematous, scaling plaques covering small or large areas of the skin. The consequences of this inflammatory disease may be an increased risk of arteriosclerosis and thus development of heart disease. Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark have discovered that the increased risk of coronary artey disease in patients with psoriasis can be ameliorated by effectively treating the skin disease.

This is the result of a new study from Aarhus University Hospital where researchers from Department of Dermatology and Department of Cardiology have studied arteriosclerosis in the heart among patients with severe inflammatory skin diseases.

In a clinical study, coronary CT angiography revealed an increased prevalence of cardiac disease in patients with both psoriasis and atopic eczema. The association between skin disease and heart disease may be caused by the inflammatory condition in the body of persons with these chronic diseases.

The novelty of the study is that patients with severe psoriasis initiating biological treatment of their disease experienced a reduced progression of coronary artery disease, whereas coronary artery disease progressed among psoriasis control patients not receiving any systemic treatment.

The results of the study indicate that biological drugs in addition to being effective in the treatment of e.g. skin and rheumatic diseases also have beneficial effect on the risk of developing cardiac diseases among patients with inflammatory diseases.

These results can also be important for other patient groups, says Kasper Fjellhaugen Hjuler, MD and PhD-fellow at Department of Dermatology, Aarhus University Hospital.

”The results are important because they indicate that we can attenuate premature coronary artery disease in patients with psoriasis. Psoriasis may be considered as an example of an inflammatory disease with increased risk of cardiovascular comorbidites; the understanding of inflammation as a driving force in arteriosclerosis may be important for different patient groups in a larger perspective”, he says.

The results are published in the article: 

Association Between Changes in Coronary Artery Disease Progression and Treatment With Biologic Agents for Severe Psoriasis

Kasper Fjellhaugen Hjuler, MD; Morten Bøttcher, MD, PhD; Christian Vestergaard, MD, PhD, DMSc; Hans Erik Bøtker, MD, PhD; Lars Iversen, MD, DMSc; Knud Kragballe, MD, DMSc
JAMA Dermatol. Published online July 07, 2016.