Cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: assessment of several traditional risk parameters and a German risk score model


The present cross-sectional data demonstrate cardiovascular (CV) risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The cross-sectional data were part of an interventional trial that included 100 patients with defined RA. Traditional CV risk parameters and risk score calculation for the German population were used to assess the CV risk profile in the collective given. Proatherogenic lipid profile characterised by increased total cholesterol (≥5.2 mmol/l) and LDL cholesterol (≥3.5 mmol/l) levels was measured in 85 and 66%, respectively, of the study population. Elevated concentrations of homocysteine (≥10 μmol/l) were reached by 67%. The prevalence of patients at high CV risk was 12% and increased up to 42% after using a multiplication factor of 1.5. No association was seen between the CV risk SCORE and DAS 28 or disease duration. RA patients in this study showed a proatherogenic risk profile with regard to the CV risk factors evaluated. The calculation of a 10-year risk using German risk charts might have led to an overall underestimation of the mean CV risk. Cardiovascular co-morbidity in RA patients must be seen as a major prevention and treatment target and should be monitored adequately.

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We specially thank all partners and co-operating medical practices who helped with the study procedure: Dr. Sabine Fasse, Dr. Nils Putschky, Prof. Dr. Henning Zeidler, Dr. Hans-Georg Pott, Dr. Michael Bernateck, Dr. Winfried Demary, Walburga Reichard, Christiane Heuermann, Dr. Reinhard Hein, Dr. Hannah Frank, Dr. Vu Vi Pham, Dr. Rainer Stange, Dr. Bernhard Uehleke, Larissa Meier, Sabine Saalfeld, Dr. Heike Franziska Weidemann, Dr. Guido Hoese, Prof. Dr. Ralf Lichtinghagen, Heike Kohrs, and Gudrun Gläser.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no financial or other conflict of interest relevant to the subject of this article.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Janina Willers.

Additional information

This analysis was part of an interventional trial supported by Opfermann Arzneimittel GmbH, Wiehl, Germany—Rottapharm|Madaus Group.

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Willers, J., Hahn, A. Cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: assessment of several traditional risk parameters and a German risk score model. Rheumatol Int 32, 3741–3749 (2012).

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  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • Risk score models
  • SCORE Germany