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Int J Cardiol. 2008 Jul 21;127(3):410-2. Epub 2007 Aug 8.

Pulmonary hypertension in rheumatoid arthritis--relation with the duration of the disease.


Isolated pulmonary hypertension with clinical implication is rare in rheumatoid arthritis. We sought to study the prevalence of pulmonary arterial hypertension in an unselected population of 45 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (classified according to the ARA criteria) without cardiac disease and corresponding age and sex matched controls by Doppler echocardiography. The pulmonary artery systolic pressure was higher in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (27.49+/-12.66 mm Hg) than in controls (20.40+/-8.88) (p=0.003). Incidence of pulmonary artery systolic pressure>30 mm Hg suggesting pulmonary hypertension was significantly higher in patients with RA (26.7% versus 4.5% in controls; p=0.03) and 20% of patients had pulmonary hypertension without lung disease or cardiac disease evident on pulmonary function testing, and echocardiogram respectively. There was also a strong correlation between the pulmonary artery pressure and the disease duration (r=0.68, p<0.0001) suggesting a subclinical involvement of the pulmonary vasculature with disease progression and may be relevant to the high incidence of cardiovascular deaths observed in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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