Objectives/Hypothesis Previous studies have indicated that hypercholesterolemia and a high burden of cardiovascular risk factors are associated with the development of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that SSHL is a risk factor for the development of myocardial infarction (MI). Study Design A retrospective cohort study. Methods Using the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database, we compared patients diagnosed with SSHL between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2006, (N = 44,830) with age-matched controls (1:1) (N = 44,830). We followed up on each patient until the end of 2009 to evaluate the incidence of MI for a minimum period of 3 years after their initial SSHL diagnosis. Results We found that after adjusting for potential confounds with an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.254 (95% confidence interval, 1.092-1.440, P <0.05), patients with SSHL were more likely to suffer MI than the control population. When stratified by patient age, the incidence of MI was 1.62-fold and 1.28-fold higher for SSHL-diagnosed patients aged between 50 and 64 years and those aged ≥ 65 years (P = 0.0064 and P = 0.0001), respectively, than in the non-SSHL group. Conclusions SSHL may confer an independent risk of MI. This observation may prompt the early detection and timely treatment of patients at a high risk of MI.
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