Cardiovascular Disease Risk Higher for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
Posted Jan 17 2011 5:49pm
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients have a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease than the general population. Up till now it has been difficult to identify which of these patients were actually had an increased risk. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have developed a simple process to predict which of these patients will most likely develop heart disease within 10 years of their initial RA diagnosis.
The Mayo Clinic has previously lead research that determined there is a link between RA and increased risk for heart disease. The next step is to determine which of these RA patients has the higher risk so that appropriate treatment can be started to improve the heart related outcome.
Dr. Hilal Maradit Kremers, a research associate in the Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research, led the study to identify the risk factors.
They analyzed the risk factor profiles of 553 RA patients with cardiovascular disease within 10 years of their RA diagnosis and 574 RA patients without heart disease. They collected detailed information about all of the study’s participants cardiac events as well as traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and smoking.
The researchers, using absolute risk analysis methods, discovered that 85 percent of those aged 60 to 69, who were newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, had a 1 in 5 chance of developing a serious cardiovascular event. This compares with only 40% of those patients who did not have RA.
Dr. Sherine Gabriel, the study’s lead author, stated “Our findings indicate that evaluation of cardiovascular risk based on risk factor profiles of individual patients can help physicians identify high risk rheumatoid arthritis patients and assist with decisions concerning cardiovascular disease prevention.”
The findings of this Mayo Clinic research study were presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, Nov. 6-11, 2007.