Dr. Jasvinder Singh, a rheumatologist at Alabama’s University in Birmingham is the author of a study that was featured in Arthritis Care and Research.
During a recent interview with MedPageToday, Dr. Singh emphasized that more studies of people hospitalized with vasculitis infections are needed. He said that most of the studies published to date were narrow in scope, almost ten years old, contained small sample sizes, and were limited to only a few locations.
The doctor’s current study evolved due to a substantial increase in infection rates in hospitalized patients with vasculitis: a two-fold increase between 1998 and 2016.
In vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels occurs when the blood vessels are attacked by the immune system. The cause may be a disease, medicine, or infection.
About the Study
Dr. Singh explained that the goal of the study was to examine the in-hospital mortality of vasculitis patients. Dr. Singh and his team studied issues associated with five infectious diseases: sepsis, pneumonia, infections in soft tissue and skin, and infections in the urinary tract. Opportunistic infections were also studied. The term refers to infections occurring frequently and more severely in people with weak immune systems.
Upon examining patients with vasculitis, the study found 111,345 severe infections representing fourteen percent of vasculitis hospitalizations. The median age was 67.3 years. Thirty-seven percent of patients were males and sixty-seven present were white.
Dr. Singh noted that the key findings of the study were the reversal of pneumonia and sepsis as the most common severe infection between 1998 and 2016. In 1998 pneumonia led the list of common, serious infections among patients hospitalized with vasculitis. In 2016 sepsis took over as the most severe infection among hospitalized vasculitis patients.
Dr. Singh and Dr. Cleveland, also from the University of Alabama, focused on the period 1998 to 2016. They looked for patients who had any of the five aforementioned infections as their primary diagnosis.
When asked to name the most surprising aspect of the study Dr. Singh said that the nearly doubled number of hospitalizations due to severe infections in proportion to vasculitis hospitalizations came as a complete surprise to the researchers.
Dr. Singh’s Conclusion
The doctor concluded that their study will help physicians recognize high-risk groups among patients while they are hospitalized with vasculitis. This will result in improved planning during their hospital stay as well as post-hospital care.
He further stated that the study resulted in gathering critical data on the patients. The data will provide opportunities for improved prognoses of hospitalized patients.