UK Biobank study links chronic inflammatory disorders and arterial stiffness

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  • Arterial stiffness index increased in patients diagnosed with chronic inflammation disorder (ID) including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
  • An increasing trend was observed for arterial stiffness with higher tertiles of different inflammatory biomarkers.
  • ID biomarkers might have a possible role in discriminating patients with IDs into different risk categories for future cardiovascular diseases.

Why this matters

  • Existing evidence supports addition of measures of inflammatory biomarkers to traditional cardiovascular risk scores for improved predictive values.
  • However, authors call for further confirmation from prospective studies.

Study design

  • Study evaluated 171,125 adults (age, 40-69 years) from UK Biobank who were free from cardiovascular diseases.
  • 5976 adults were diagnosed with an ID, whereas 165,149 were diagnosed without.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Chronic IDs vs no IDs was associated with a 14% increase in mean arterial stiffness (adjusted exponentiated coefficient [β], 1.14; P=.002).
  • Arterial stiffness increased from 11% (P=.162) in the first tertile to 17% (P=.029) in second and 21% (P=.009) in third tertile of leucocyte count.
  • Arterial stiffness increased within rheumatoid arthritis (β, 1.18; P=.044) and psoriasis (β, 1.21; P=.016), but not IBDs (β, 1.14; P=.091).


  • Risk for misclassification bias as UK Biobank data are based on self-reported chronic IDs.