Night work and risk of ischaemic heart disease and anti-hypertensive drug use: a cohort study of 145 861 Danish employees

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BACKGROUND: Ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and hypertension are leading causes of mortality and night work has been suspected as a risk factor. Meta-analyses and previous studies are often limited by power and various definitions of exposure and outcomes. This study aimed to investigate if night work increases the risk of IHD or anti-hypertensive drug usage in a large cohort of Danish employees.

METHODS: Individual participant data on night work were drawn from the Danish Labour Force Survey (1999-2013). We included 145 861 participants (53% men) 21-59 years of age working 32 h or more per week. Participants with diagnosis or drug use in the year prior to baseline were excluded. Data on outcomes were obtained from nationwide health registers. Using Poisson regression we analyzed incidence rates of the outcomes as functions of night work adjusted for relevant covariates.

RESULTS: We observed 3635 cases of IHD and 20 648 cases used anti-hypertensive drugs. When examining main effects the association of night work with drug use was estimated at rate ratio (RR): 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01-1.09). A sensitivity analysis suggested a dose-response association. The association of night work with IHD was estimated at RR: 1.08 (95% CI: 0.98-1.19). Overall likelihood ratio test showed no statistically significant associations between night work and IHD or drug use when including interactions with sex and socioeconomic status.

CONCLUSIONS: Night work was associated with an increased risk of anti-hypertensive drug use. Small estimates suggested a dose-response association. No statistically significant association between night work and IHD were found.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Public Health
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)259–264
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association.

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