Researchers from Israel who have analyzed electrocardiogram (ECG) output have discovered that psoriatic arthritis patients may have signs of an abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia.
Cardiac arrhythmias are irregular contractions of the heart that decreases its efficiently in pumping blood. Cardiac arrhythmia symptoms may include rapid or slow heartbeat, fainting or shortness of breath. Patients who have cardiac arrhythmia have a higher risk of congestive heart disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.
Dr. Devy Zisman and colleagues from the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, Israel performed an analysis of 92 psoriatic arthritis patients and 92 “controls” that did not have psoriatic arthritis.
“The major finding of our study,” Dr. Zisman’s team reports, “is a statistically significantly longer PR interval in the patients with psoriatic arthritis compared to individuals without psoriasis or arthritis.” A lengthened PR interval is a sign of an abnormal heart rhythm. The average PR interval in the psoriatic arthritis patients was 5.5% longer than that of the controls.
“Although the clinical relevance of this finding is questionable since the absolute difference was small, the importance of the observation is the implication of atrioventricular node involvement in the psoriatic arthritis systemic disease,” Dr. Zisman and colleagues note.
Another finding of the study was that methotrexate or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) had no effect on heart rhythm.
Researchers point out, however, that it is not yet known if these irregularities lead to serious heart disease and concluded their report by saying that a large study with a long follow up period should be conducted.
The results of their study were published in the Journal of Rheumatology.