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Results 34 studies in 2 011 935 people were identified. Shift work was associated with myocardial infarction (risk ratio 1.23, 95% confidence interval 1.15 to 1.31; I2=0) and ischaemic stroke (1.05, 1.01 to 1.09; I2=0). Coronary events were also increased (risk ratio 1.24, 1.10 to 1.39), albeit with significant heterogeneity across studies (I2=85%). Pooled risk ratios were significant for both unadjusted analyses and analyses adjusted for risk factors. All shift work schedules with the exception of evening shifts were associated with a statistically higher risk of coronary events. Shift work was not associated with increased rates of mortality (whether vascular cause specific or overall). Presence or absence of adjustment for smoking and socioeconomic status was not a source of heterogeneity in the primary studies. 6598 myocardial infarctions, 17 359 coronary events, and 1854 ischaemic strokes occurred. On the basis of the Canadian prevalence of shift work of 32.8%, the population attributable risks related to shift work were 7.0% for myocardial infarction, 7.3% for all coronary events, and 1.6% for ischaemic stroke.
The authors define shift work as being " employment in any work schedule that is not a regular daytime schedule (that is, approximately 0900 to 1700).1 The full spectrum of shift work comprises regular evening or night schedules, rotating shifts, split shifts, on-call or casual shifts, 24 hour shifts, irregular schedules, and other non-day schedules."
Should more be done to identify or screen indviduals who work shift patterns?