The risk of having a heart attack is 60 per cent higher just a year after a patient has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
The risk of having a heart attack is 60 per cent higher just a year after a patient has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine .
Swedish researchers followed 7,469 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) between 1995 and 2006, together with 37,024 matched controls without RA to determine the risk of ischaemic heart disease, with particular reference to myocardial infarction (heart attack). The maximum follow-up was 12 years and the median was just over four years.
"Our findings emphasize the importance of monitoring a patient's heart risk from the moment they are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, as the risk rises rapidly in the first few years" says lead author Marie Holmqvist from the Karolinska Institutet.
Key findings of the study included:
"Our study confirms the increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks that patients with RA face" says Marie Holmqvist. "However it also adds three important observations to previous research."
"Our research underlines the importance of clinicians monitoring patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis for an increased risk of heart problems, in particular heart attacks" concludes Marie Holmqvist. "It is also very clear that more research is needed to determine the mechanisms that link these two health conditions."
Rapid increase in myocardial infarction following diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis amongst patients diagnosed between 1995 and 2006. Journal of Internal Medicine . 268, pp578-585. (December 2010). DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02260.x
The Journal of Internal Medicine publishes original clinical work within the broad field of general and internal medicine and its sub-specialties. It features original articles, reviews, and case reports. JIM also supports and organizes scientific meetings in the form of symposia within the scope of the journal. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2796
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