- People with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an excess of stroke and heart failure at diagnosis and this appears to accumulate within the 5 years prior to diagnosis.
Why this matters
- Findings highlight the importance of performing a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment at diagnosis and initiating early management of any identified CV risk factors.
- Retrospective case-control study compared the prevalence of CVD and CVD risk factors at diagnosis between 6591 patients with newly diagnosed RA (cases) and 6591 age-and gender-matched controls.
- Median follow-up: 5.4 years.
- Funding: Pfizer.
- RA vs control group had a significantly higher risk for stroke (3.9% vs 2.7%; P<.001 and heart failure vs p=".001)" but the risk for myocardial infarction was non-significant>
- A greater number of CVD was reported in the 5 years preceding diagnosis in the RA vs control group (3.4% vs 2.8%; P=.036).
- After adjustment for traditional and RA-related risk factors, the risk of post-diagnosis CVD was significantly greater in the RA vs control group (HR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.07-1.65; P=.010).
- Retrospective design.
- Risk of residual confounding.