Celiac.com 03/13/2015 - People who suffer from celiac disease with persistent villous atrophy do not face any higher risk of ischemic heart disease or atrial fibrillation, according to a recent study by a research team in Sweden.

Image: Banksy. Photo: CC--Eva BlueThis is important, because patients with celiac disease do face an increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes, so it is mildly encouraging that persistent villous atrophy resulting from gluten exposure does not appear to affect overall or cardiovascular mortality.

The research team, led by Dr. Jonas F. Ludvigsson from Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, studied 7,440 celiac disease patients, 43% with persistent villous atrophy, who had follow-up biopsies, along with up to five controls each, matched for age, gender, county, and calendar year.

Overall risk of ischemic heart disease was not significantly higher in the patients with celiac disease. After adjusting for age at follow-up biopsy, gender, duration of celiac disease, and other factors, they found no significant difference in the risk of ischemic heart disease risk between patients with villous atrophy and those with mucosal healing.

Similarly, patients with villous atrophy had no higher risk of atrial fibrillation than those with mucosal healing.

Factors associated with ischemic heart disease risk included being male, older, and having lower educational levels. Factors associated with atrial fibrillation risk included being male and being older.

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