Stroke, Heart Attack Risk Increased With Herpes Zoster

HealthDay News — Herpes zoster (HZ) may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Sung-Han Kim, MD, of the Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues looked at 2003 to 2013 medical records for 23,213 people in South Korea who had HZ. The investigators also reviewed data on the same number of people without HZ.

The researchers found that the HZ group had a 59% higher risk of myocardial infarction and a 35% higher risk of stroke than the others. Stroke risk was highest among those under 40. The risks of both stroke and myocardial infarction were highest the first year after the onset of HZ and decreased with time, according to the study. Patients with HZ were more likely to be female and to have risk factors for stroke and myocardial infarction, such as old age, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. However, they were less likely to smoke, drank less alcohol, exercised more, and were wealthier.

“It is important that physicians treating these patients make them aware of their increased risk,” Dr Kim said in a journal news release.


Kim M, Yun S, Lee H, et al. Herpes Zoster increases the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction [published online July 2017]. J Am Coll Cardiol. 70(2):295-296. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.015