Cardiovascular disease linked with inflammatory arthritis

Nov 02, 2009

Patients who have inflammatory arthritis and receive care from general practitioners have an almost 2-fold increased risk of prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with those who do not. Therefore, assessing CVD risk and using prevention strategies in every patient who has inflammatory arthritis is important.

Patients who have inflammatory arthritis and receive care from general practitioners have an almost 2-fold increased risk of prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with those who do not. Therefore, assessing CVD risk and using prevention strategies in every patient who has inflammatory arthritis is important.

Peters and colleagues compared the incidence of CVD in persons with inflammatory arthritis with that in healthy controls. They reviewed electronic medical records from 360,000 patients cared for at 96 general practices in the Netherlands, selecting persons who were 50 to 75 years old. Data included information on consultations, morbidity, prescriptions, and referrals to other health care professionals.

The prevalence of CVD was 66.1 per 1000 in patients with inflammatory arthritis and 37.3 per 1000 patients in the control group. Prevalences were found to be higher for patients with inflammatory arthritis in all age and sex strata, except in 60- to 64-year-old men and women. The odds ratios were 1.57 for myocardial infarction, 2.13 for transient ischemic attack, and 1.72 for stroke/cerebrovascular events; they tended to be higher for women with inflammatory arthritis than for men.

The authors noted that more research is warranted to better understand mechanisms that lead to the increased cardiovascular burden in this patient population.

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