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Posted by on May 9, 2016 in Rheumatoid Arthritis | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study examined the link between rheumatoid arthritis and 12 varieties of cardiovascular diseases. The authors concluded that patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed higher levels of certain types of cardiovascular disease. 

Some background

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be up to twice as likely to experience cardiovascular disease (CVD) than those without RA. It is possible that underlying medical conditions or their current medication could contribute to the high levels of CVD seen in RA patients. 
Previous studies have only examined specific types of CVDs seen in RA patients, such as heart attacks or strokes. It is not clear whether there is a link between RA and all types of CVD, or what risk factors are involved.

Methods & findings

This study examined the effect of rheumatoid arthritis on 12 varieties of cardiovascular diseases. These included heart attack, sudden CVD death, heart failure (when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively), peripheral artery disease (blood vessels to the legs and arms have narrowed), and angina (chest pain due to narrowed blood vessels to the heart). 
In total, the records of 12,120 patients with RA and 121,191 patients without RA were studied. The patients in this study were both male and female and showed no previous signs of CVD . 
The patients with RA showed 43% higher rates of heart attack and 60% higher rates of sudden CVD death. Heart failure occured 61% more often in those with RA, and peripheral artery disease 36% more often. Patients with RA had 2.26 times the rate of heart attack. There was not association found between RA and angina or stroke. Sex and age had no effect on the development of CVDs. 

The bottom line

This study concluded that while rheumatoid arthritis can contribute to higher levels of some cardiovascular diseases it can also lead to lower rates of angina.

The fine print

This study was carried out on a large group of patients with a wide range of medical histories. 

What’s next?

Consult with your physician regarding the importance of monitoring your cardiovascular health.

Published By :


Date :

Mar 15, 2016

Original Title :

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Incidence of Twelve Initial Presentations of Cardiovascular Disease: A Population Record-Linkage Cohort Study in England.

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