Managing Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Clinical Updates and Three Strategic Approaches

  • Ann M. Chodara
  • Aimée Wattiaux
  • Christie M. BartelsEmail author
Rheumatoid Arthritis (L Moreland, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Rheumatoid Arthritis


The increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is well known; however, appropriate management of this elevated risk in rheumatology clinics is less clear.

Purpose of Review

By critically reviewing literature published within the past 5 years, we aim to clarify current knowledge and gaps regarding CVD risk management in RA.

Recent Findings

We examine recent guidelines, recommendations, and evidence and discuss three approaches: (1) RA-specific management including treat-to-target and medication management, (2) assessment of comprehensive individual risk, and (3) targeting traditional CVD risk factors (hypertension, smoking, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity, and physical inactivity) at a population level. Considering that 75% of US RA visits occur in specialty clinics, further research is needed regarding evidence-based strategies to manage and reduce CVD risk in RA.


This review highlights clinical updates including US cardiology and international professional society guidelines, successful evidence-based population approaches from primary care, and novel opportunities in rheumatology care to reduce CVD risk in RA.


Rheumatoid arthritis Cardiovascular disease Risk assessment Hypertension Hyperlipidemia Smoking cessation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Bartels receives peer-reviewed grant funding from Independent Grants for Learning and Change, Pfizer. Aimée Wattiaux and Ann Chodara declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any previously unreported studies with human and animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann M. Chodara
    • 1
  • Aimée Wattiaux
    • 2
  • Christie M. Bartels
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin Hospital and ClinicsMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Rheumatology Division, Department of MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH)MadisonUSA

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