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Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease in Rheumatoid Arthritis

A prospective study of the BioSTAR registry estimates the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to be 4.6%.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have increased morbidity and mortality, but how much of these outcomes are related to RA or associated cardiovascular (CV) comorbidities? This was studied using a prospective RA BioSTAR (Biological and Targeted Synthetic Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs Registry). The BioSTAR-RA  registry was developed by the Turkish League Against Rheumatism and collected serial RA data, outcome and treatment applications, including the use of DMARDs, biologics and JAK inhibitors.

A cross sectional analysis conducted in September 2022 identified socio-demographic, clinical, and cardiac outcome data (including myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, peripheral vascular disorders, congestive heart failure, ischemic stroke, and transient ischemic attack; all regarded as major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs). Group 1 and Group 2 included patients with and without CVD. Prevalence rates of CVD and traditional CV risk factors were the primary outcomes.

The cohort included 724 RA patients (mean age of 55.1 yrs.). Overall, the CVD prevalence rate was 4.6% (n = 33). Those with CVD (Group 1) were significantly more male, older, and had higher BMI (p = 0.027, p < 0.001, and p = 0.041). Obesity (33.4%) and hypertension (27.2%) were the two CV risk factors most frequently.

Male sex (HR = 7.818) and hypertension (HR = 4.570) were the independent risk factors for CVD.

CVD risk factors in the general population (male sex, older age, and hypertension) were also evident in RA patients.


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The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject