, Volume 32, Issue 11, pp 3455-3461
Date: 06 Nov 2011

The major determinants of arterial stiffness in Korean patients with rheumatoid arthritis are age and systolic blood pressure, not disease-related factors

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Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This study was undertaken to investigate the prevalence of peripheral arterial disease, and to identify factors, especially those related to rheumatoid arthritis, influencing arterial stiffness in Korean patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A total of 262 patients with rheumatoid arthritis managed in a tertiary clinic were included. Ankle–brachial index and brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity were measured. Rheumatoid arthritis-related factors were determined, as well as the traditional cardiovascular risk factors. The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease was only 1.5%. Mean pulse wave velocity was 1,559 ± 354 cm/s. Age, body mass index, blood pressure, lipid profile, and glucose, not rheumatoid arthritis-related factors such as disease duration, seropositivity and disease activity, were significantly correlated with pulse wave velocity. Moreover, stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that only age over 65 (OR = 9.1, 95% CI 4.3–19.1, P < 0.001), systolic blood pressure over 140 mmHg (OR = 15.7, 95% CI 7.4–33.1, P < 0.001), and corticosteroid use (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.03–4.3, P = 0.04) were independent risk factors for high pulse wave velocity. The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease in Korean patients with rheumatoid arthritis is very low. Among the many factors related to arterial stiffness, only old age, high systolic blood pressure, and, to a certain extent, corticosteroid use appear to be major determinants, especially in clinical setting with relatively well controlled patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Young-Sam Kim and Yoon-Kyoung Sung equally contributed to this study.