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Number of cardiovascular risk factors could determine safety of intravenous gammaglobulin treatment
Date:3/4/2009

years, received the treatment between August 1998 and May 2004. The researchers compared information about the two groups, including gender and race, the reason the patients received IVIg treatment, dosage, previous exposure to the drug, and the patients' risk factors for stroke and heart attack.

Researchers found that no single cardiovascular risk factor increased the chance of having a stroke or heart attack after IVIg treatment. However, the likelihood of having such an event appeared to increase slightly when the patient had two or more risk factors and, when four or more risk factors were present, patients were 10 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke within two weeks of receiving IVIg, according to the study's findings.

Cardiovascular risk factors include coronary artery disease, cigarette use, high blood pressure, previous stroke or arterial thrombosis, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Neither the race nor gender of the patient affected the risk of stroke or heart attack, the study showed.

In 2003, Caress and a team of Wake Forest researchers published a paper in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, reporting the experiences of 16 patients who suffered a stroke during or immediately after IVIg infusions.

The latest study expands on that report.

"Prior to 2003, other investigators had reported stroke and heart attack due to IVIg, but these complications were believed to be extremely rare," Caress said. "Now we know that having just one or two cardiovascular risk factors does not result in a major increase in risk for heart attack or stroke after IVIg treatment. But if the patient has three or four of these risk factors, the chance of having a serious complication is substantially higher."

Since 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required that IVIg manufacturers add a statement about the risk of stroke and heart attack to their products, so most physi
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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