Association of Cardiovascular Risk Factors with Carotid Intima Media Thickness in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis with Low Disease Activity Compared to Controls: A Cross-Sectional Study

Deborah Stoep, D van Zeben, B Klop, GJM van de Geijn, HJW Janssen, Mieke Hazes, Erwin Birnie, N van der Meulen, MA (Marijke) de Vries, MC Cabezas

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Objectives Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been identified as an independent cardiovascular risk factor. The importance of risk factors such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia in the generation of atherosclerosis in RA patients is unclear. This study analyzed clinical parameters associated with carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) in patients with RA. Methods Subjects with RA and healthy controls without RA, both without known cardiovascular disease, were included. Participants underwent a standard physical examination and laboratory measurements including a lipid profile. cIMT was measured semi-automatically by ultrasound. Results In total 243 RA patients and 117 controls were included. The median RA disease duration was 7 years (IQR 2-14 years). The median DAS28 was 2.4 (IQR 1.6-3.2) and 114 (50.4%) of the RA patients were in remission. The presence of RA and cIMT were not associated (univariate analysis). Multivariable regression analysis showed that cIMT in RA patients was associated with age (B = 0.006, P<0.001) and systolic blood pressure (B = 0.003, P = 0.003). In controls, cIMT was associated with age (B = 0.006, P<0.001) and smoking (B = 0.097, P = 0.001). Conclusion cIMT values were similar between RA patients and controls. Hypertension was strongly associated with cIMT in RA patients. After adjustment, no association between cIMT and specific RA disease characteristics was found in this well treated RA cohort.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article numbere0140844.
JournalPLoS One (print)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-05-63-02 Quality
  • EMC MUSC-01-31-01

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