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Heart Attack Risk Increases After Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed

  • Published: 2010-12-06 : Author: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Synopsis: The risk of having a heart attack is 60 per cent higher just a year after a patient has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Main Document

Heart-attack risk increases rapidly after rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed - Large-scale study reports 60 percent increase in risk just a year after diagnosis.

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 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.

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (, one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.

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