Patients with psoriatic disease are known to be at increased risk of heart failure. A new cohort study suggests that part of the risk may be attributable to the disease itself, not just traditional cardiovascular risk factors like obesity and metabolic abnormalities that are common comorbidities in psoriatic disease. There may also be differences in the risk profiles of patients with ischemic and nonischemic heart failure.
Previous studies have shown that heart failure risk in patients with psoriatic arthritis is 32% higher than in the general population, and with psoriasis, it is 22%-53% higher. However, those studies were based on administrative databases with no clinical information to back up the accuracy of diagnoses,, from the University of Toronto, said during a presentation of the research at the virtual annual meeting of the Group for Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (GRAPPA).
The finding that psoriatic disease inflammation may be a direct risk factor for heart failure might be good news for patients. “By controlling inflammation, we may be able to reduce the risk of heart failure in these patients,” Dr. Koppikar said.
During a question and answer session, discussant, director of the rheumatology research unit and lead for psoriatic arthritis at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge (England), noted that patients with conditions like lupus and systemic sclerosis may undergo regular echocardiograms, chest CTs, or other surveillance, and asked if Dr. Koppikar could recommend a framework for similar surveillance in psoriatic arthritis.
“With the current data we have, I don’t know if we can make recommendations. What we learned from our study is that patients that have elevated inflammatory disease, with elevated inflammatory markers for a prolonged period of time, were at higher risk than [if they had elevated markers only] just before the event. So poorly controlled patients might be something you should be more aware of, and maybe get cardiology involved. But I don’t think it’s something we should be doing right now for all patients,” Dr. Koppikar said.
The researchers analyzed data from a psoriasis cohort at the University of Toronto that began in 2006. Every 6-12 months, they were assessed by a rheumatologist and underwent imaging assessment and laboratory tests. The primary outcome of the study was the first heart failure event, which the researchers identified by linking the cohort database with provincial hospitalization and mortality databases. They verified all events by examining medical records. They also assessed the association between heart failure and disease activity over time rather than just before the event.
The analysis included 1,994 patients. A total of 64 new heart failure events occurred during a mean follow-up of 11.3 years (2.85 per 1,000 person-years), including 38 ischemic and 26 nonischemic events. A multivariate analysis found that heart failure was associated with adjusted mean (AM) tender joint count (hazard ratio, 1.51; P = .02), AM swollen joint count (HR, 1.82; P = .04), AM erythrocyte sedimentation rate (HR, 1.26; P = .009), AM C-reactive protein (HR, 1.27; P = .001), Health Assessment Questionnaire (HR, 1.95; P = .001), and minimum disease activity state (HR, 0.40; P = .04). The multivariate analysis was adjusted for sex, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, body mass index, ischemic heart disease, lipids, and smoking status.
When the researchers separated the analysis into ischemic and nonischemic heart failure, some interesting associations popped out. Nonischemic heart failure was associated with AM tender joint count (HR, 1.83; P = .004), but ischemic heart failure was not. Other factors associated with nonischemic but not ischemic heart failure included AM swollen joint count (HR, 3.56; P = .0003), damaged joint count (HR, 1.29; P = .04), and pain score (HR, 1.22; P = .047). Minimum disease activity had the opposite result: It was associated with only ischemic heart failure (HR, 0.40; P = .04).
The study cohort more closely resembles a rheumatology cohort than a dermatology cohort, and it suggests that patients with psoriatic arthritis have different cardiovascular comorbidities than those with pure psoriasis, according to, professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of Lübeck (Germany). “It shows how it important it is to look for comorbidity in the rheumatologic setting,” Dr. Thaçi said in an interview.
The study was supported by the Arthritis Society. Dr. Koppikar and Dr. Thaçi have no relevant financial disclosures.
SOURCE: Koppikar S et al. GRAPPA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting.