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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2003 Feb;42(2):292-7.

Rheumatoid arthritis and macrovascular disease.

Author information

1
University Department of Medicine, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK. jkalkaabi@hotmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To measure the extent of subclinical atherosclerosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with controls, and to evaluate any potential vascular risk factors.

METHODS:

Forty RA patients were compared with an age- and sex-matched control group. Non-invasive vascular tests, i.e. carotid duplex scanning [measuring common carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT)], ankle-brachial blood pressure index (ABPI) and QT dispersion on ECG (QTD), were performed. Traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, blood sugar, lipids and steroid usage were assessed.

RESULTS:

The average IMT (S.E.) in RA patients was 0.73 (0.03) mm, compared with 0.62 (0.03) mm in the control group (P=0.01, Mann-Whitney). Ten out of 40 RA patients (25%) had an ABPI < 1.0 compared with 1/40 (2.5%) in the control group (P=0.007, Fisher's). QTD was higher in RA patients; mean (S.E.) 55 (2.70) ms compared with 40 (2.50) ms in the control group (P < 0.001, t-test). There were no significant differences in the prevalence of high blood pressure, diabetes or lipid profiles. However, patients on steroids had a higher mean QTD (S.E.): 63.5 (4) compared with 48 (2.7) ms in those patients who had not received long-term steroids (P=0.003, t-test).

CONCLUSION:

RA patients have an increased risk of subclinical vascular disease as was shown by a higher prevalence of carotid disease, peripheral arterial disease and increased QTD. Among traditional risk factors we found a history of steroid usage to be one of the potential risk factors.

PMID:
12595625
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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