Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and axial spondyloarthritis were linked to similarly increased risks of major adverse cardiovascular events in a large population-based cohort study.
Inflammation itself drives this relationship and “adequate control of disease activity is needed to lower cardiovascular risk,” wrote
Major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) also were significantly associated with traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, “stressing the importance of [their] detection and management,” the researchers wrote in.
Previous studies linked inflammatory arthritis to a 40%-50% increase in risk of cardiovascular events, such as MI and acute coronary syndrome. Inflammatory arthritis also increases the risk of cerebrovascular disease, and traditional cardiovascular risk factors alone do not explain these associations, the researchers noted. Mounting data suggest that inflammation underlies the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Other studies have documented the cardioprotective effect of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
Dr. Lauper and her coinvestigators examined the prevalence and incidence of MACE, including MI, transient or permanent cerebrovascular events, or cardiovascular deaths among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or spondyloarthritis. The 5,315 patients in the study were part of the Swiss Clinical Quality Management, which longitudinally tracks individuals throughout Switzerland who receive biologic DMARDs.
The investigators also asked rheumatologists to supply missing data and used a questionnaire to survey patients about cardiovascular events and associated risk factors. These efforts produced more than 66,000 patient-years of follow-up data, more than half of which were for rheumatoid arthritis and less than 10,000 of which were for psoriatic arthritis.