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In a meta-analysis of seven studies consisting of 842,553 participants and 51,123 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD), researchers analysed the relationship between history of gallstones and the development of CHD.

They found that a history of gallstone disease was linked with a 23% increased risk of developing CHD. CHD occurred more often with a history of gallstone disease because of the shared risk factors.

These shared risk factors, including diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and poor diet. Interestingly, individuals with a history of gallstones but otherwise healthy (not obese, diabetic, normal blood pressure) had a greater risk of CHD that their more sick counterparts.

Lu Qi, professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, said: "Our results suggest that patients with gallstone disease should be monitored closely based on a careful assessment of both gallstone and heart disease risk factors. Preventing gallstone disease may also benefit heart health."

The researchers did not identify why gallstone disease and CHD were linked in this study, but one theory is that gallstones may affect bile acid secretion, which has been related to cardiovascular risk factors. In addition, gut microbiota has been related to cardiovascular disease. "Patients with gallstones also have abnormal abundance and metabolism in their gut microbiota", Qi said. 

Consumer related article:

Related research article: Zheng et al (2016) Gallstones and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Prospective Analysis of 270 000 Men and Women From 3 US Cohorts and Meta-Analysis. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, August 2016 DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.307507

Posted by Maria Zaretti at 13:26