Original Article

Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 123-127

First online:

Total Mortality is Increased in Rheumatoid Arthritis. A 17-Year Prospective Study

  • T. RiiseAffiliated withInstitute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø
  • , B. K. JacobsenAffiliated withInstitute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø
  • , J. T. GranAffiliated withInstitute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø
  • , H.-J. HagaAffiliated withDepartment of Rheumatology, University Hospital of Bergen, Norway
  • , E. ArnesenAffiliated withInstitute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø

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Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to determine the total and cause-specific mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients compared to a control population in northern Norway. One hundred and eighty-seven patients with RA and 930 population controls matched for age, gender and municipality were followed until death or for a maximum of 17 years. The total mortality in RA patients was twice that of their controls (MRR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.6-2.5). Patients possessing serum rheumatoid factors did not have a higher relative mortality than the seronegative patients. There was no statistically significant increased mortality from cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Indications for a higher death rate in RA patients than in controls were found for infection and sudden death.

Key words:Cancer – Infection – Mortality – Rheumatoid arthritis – Sudden death