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Atherosclerosis. 2011 Dec;219(2):821-6. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.08.026. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

Hemorheological parameters are related to subclinical atherosclerosis in systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis patients.

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  • 1Rheumatology Research Unit, Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. mjps@netvisao.pt



Rheological characteristics of blood are strongly linked to atherothrombosis in the general population, but its contribution to atherosclerosis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is currently unclear. This work examines the relationship between blood rheology, traditional cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, inflammation and subclinical atherosclerosis in SLE and RA.


Whole blood viscosity (WBV), plasma viscosity (PV), erythrocyte deformability (ED), aggregation (EA) and erythrocyte NO production were measured in 197 patients (96 SLE and 101 RA) and compared to 97 controls, all females without previous CV events. Clinical information was obtained and fasting lipids and acute phase reactants were measured. The relationship between hemorheological parameters, CV risk factors and inflammation was assessed in patients and the impact of these variables on carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) was evaluated in univariate followed by multivariate regression analyses.


WBV and ED are significantly lower in patients, while EA is elevated as compared with controls. Hemorheological disturbances correlate with CV risk factors and markers of inflammation and are more profound in patients with metabolic syndrome. Multivariable analysis showed that menopause (OR 34.72, 95%CI 4.44-271.77), obesity (OR 4.09, 95%CI 1.00-16.68) and WBV (OR 3.98; 95%CI 1.23-12.83) are positively associated whereas current corticosteroid dose (OR 0.87; 95%CI 0.78-0.98), and erythrocyte NO production (OR 0.16; 95%CI 0.05-0.52) are negatively associated with cIMT.


Disturbed hemorheological parameters in SLE and RA women are related to the presence of CV risk factors and inflammation. WBV and erythrocyte NO are independently associated with the early stages of atherosclerosis.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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