Rheumatoid arthritis linked to cardiac problems and infections

Rheumatoid arthritis research results

This large-scale population-based study shows that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) leads not only joint damage, but it increases the long-term risks of problems such as heart attacks and infections. 

Multibiomarker disease activity (MBDA) test scores were analysed in US patients with RA. There were over 34,000 patients records involved in the research. Their mean age was 69 years and 79% of them were women. Medicare fee-for-service claims data from 2010–2014, was used for this research. 

There were 452 serious infection (SIE) events, 132 myocardial infarction (MI) and 181 coronary heart disease (CHD) events. "For MI/CHD events, a threshold effect was present; higher disease activity by MBDA score was associated with increased MI (HR=1.52, 95% CI 0.92 to 2.49) and CHD rates (HR=1.54, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.34 comparing scores ≥30 vs <30)."

“Higher disease activity as measured by a panel of biomarkers was associated with higher rates of hospitalized infections, MI and CHD events. These findings add to the growing body of evidence that further strengthens the argument to strive for lower disease activity in RA,” in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Higher MBDA scores were associated with hospitalised infection, myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease events in the large, predominantly older, US RA population.

  1. Curtis JR, Xie F, Chen L, et al. Biomarker-related risk for myocardial infarction and serious infections in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a population-based studyAnn Rheum Dis. 2017 Dec 21. pii: annrheumdis-2017-211727. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2017-211727. 
Rheumatoid arthritis linked to cardiac problems and infections

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