Arterial stiffness in a muscular artery in women with longstanding rheumatoid arthritis compared with healthy controls and patients with traditional cardiovascular risk factors
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- Pieringer, H., Stuby, U., Pohanka, E. et al. Rheumatol Int (2010) 30: 1335. doi:10.1007/s00296-009-1155-5
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Pulse wave velocity (PWV), a marker of arterial stiffness, reflects vascular dysfunction and is associated with cardiovascular risk. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with profound changes in vascular function and premature death, mainly caused by cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate arterial stiffness in the brachial artery (a muscular type of artery) as measured by PWV in women with longstanding RA and to compare the results with healthy controls and to patients with traditional cardiovascular risk factors without RA. A total of 80 female participants underwent non-invasive measurement of PWV. Participants were allocated to one of three groups: patients with longstanding RA (disease duration >5 years) without traditional cardiovascular risk factors (n = 30), patients with traditional cardiovascular risk factors (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 30). Patients and controls were matched for age. PWV was significantly higher in RA patients (8.6 ± 0.9 m/s) as compared with healthy controls (8.1 ± 0.7 m/s; P = 0.02). PWV was virtually the same in RA patients and patients who had traditional cardiovascular risk factors (8.6 ± 1.5 m/s; NS). PWV was also higher in this group as compared with healthy controls, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (NS). RA is associated with a higher PWV as compared with healthy controls and is comparable to patients with known traditional risk factors. This reflects vascular dysfunction in patients with RA.