Dermatomyositis and polymyositis may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular complications

Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy is a heterogeneous group of muscle disorders which, in short, consist of four main groups: dermatomyositis, polymyositis (or antisynthetase syndrome), inclusion body myositis (IBM) and immune-mediated necrotising myopathy. Several recent studies highlight the possible link between inflammation and the prevalence of cardiovascular risk, notably in the field of rheumatology.

In an article published in May 2021, US researchers report the results of an epidemiological study on 107 million hospital admissions. 320,000 admissions, corresponding to 32,000 adult patients, registered over 2016, 2017 and 2018, were related to dermatomyositis or polymyositis disorders.

The prevalence of heart disease, particularly arrhythmias, was calculated and compared with a paired population without myositis. The authors point out the higher cardiovascular risk, particularly among under 70s. This is clearly demonstrated for supraventricular arrhythmias, associated with increased hospital deaths, again based on the same study. The results of this big-data study nonetheless remain limited in scope, in view of the very vague criteria used to define myositis.


Arrhythmia prevalence among patients with polymyositis-dermatomyositis in the United States: An observational study. Naaraayan A, Meredith A, Nimkar A, Arora G, Bharati R, Acharya P. Heart Rhythm. 2021 (Mai). 26:S1547-5271(21)00456-2.