Another research study presented at ACR meeting also indicates that people with RA have an increased risk of heart problems as those without RA.
The researchers in this study, led by Dr. Hilal Maradit Kremers, found that a condition known as diastolic dysfunction can lead to heart failure. Diastolic dysfunction is an abnormality in the left ventricle of the heart which causes blood returning from the lungs to spill back into the left atrium and eventually back into the lungs. This condition results in stiffness of the heart and can lead to heart failure.
The team followed 38 RA patients who had suffered a heart attack. They compared these patients to patients with RA who had not had a heart attack.
The team’s analysis showed that the patients with rheumatoid arthritis were 45% more likely to develop heart failure after a heart attack compared with the general population. They also found that RA patients had a 75% greater risk of dying from heart failure.
“Rheumatoid arthritis patients not only have more heart attacks and heart failures, but they also have worse prognosis once they have a cardiovascular event,” said Dr. Kremers.
Dr. Kremers is an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.