Interaction between Shift Work and Established Coronary Risk Factors

Jonas Hermansson, Henrik Bøggild, Johan Hallqvist, Bendt Karlsson, Anders Knutsson, Tohr Nilsson, Christina Reuterwall, Katja Gillander Gådin


Background: Shift work is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but the causes have not yet been fully established. It has been proposed that the coronary risk factors are more hazardous for shift workers, resulting in a potential interaction effect with shift work.

Objective: To analyse interaction effects of work schedule and established risk factors for coronary artery disease on the risk of myocardial infarction.

Methods: This analysis was conducted in SHEEP/VHEEP, a case-control study conducted in two counties in Sweden, comprising all first-time cases of myocardial infarction among men and women 45–70 years of age with controls stratified by sex, age, and hospital catchment area, totalling to 4648 participants. Synergy index (SI) was used as the main outcome analysis method for interaction analysis.

Results: There was an interaction effect between shift work and physical inactivity on the risk of myocardial infarction with SI of 2.05 (95% CI 1.07 to 3.92) for male shift workers. For female shift workers, interaction effects were found with high waist-hip ratio (SI 4.0, 95% CI 1.12 to 14.28) and elevated triglycerides (SI 5.69, 95% CI 1.67 to 19.38).

Conclusion: Shift work and some established coronary risk factors have significant interactions.


Cardiovascular diseases; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Shift work schedule; Synergy

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2019.1466

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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