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June/July 2016 (vol. 13/1)

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Research Plus

Nightshift nurses at greater risk of heart disease

Female nurses working rotating nightshifts for over five years have a slightly higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), compared with those who have never done nightshifts or had done them for less than five years, this prospective cohort study found. It followed 189,158 female nurses in the ongoing US Nurses Health Study (NHS), which started in 1976, and the NHS2, which commenced in 1989 – 10,822 incident CHD cases were identified during 24 years’ follow-up. After adjusting for age, women who worked less than five years of rotating nightshifts were not at increased risk of CHD compared with nurses without a history of shiftwork. For the NHS, female nurses who worked five to nine years of rotating night shiftwork had a significantly raised risk of CHD (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.21; 1.11–1.33); the risk was greater in those working at least 10 years of rotating nightshifts (HR = 1.36; CI 1.27–1.46) with a significant trend (p < 0.001). The results were similar for the NHS2 cohort. NHS2 data showed that CHD risk decreased with increasing time since quitting shiftwork (p < 0.001). 

JAMA 2016; 315(16): 1726–1734. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.4454. 


Occupational Health at Work June/July 2016 (vol. 13/1) pp41