The increased heart disease risk may be present even before the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, according to the researchers. During the two years before diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, patients with this disease were three times more likely to have been hospitalized for an acute heart attack and five times more likely to have an unrecognized heart attack. They were also less likely to have had a history of chest pain, compared to those without rheumatoid arthritis. After their diagnosis, the rheumatoid arthritis patients were twice as likely to experience unrecognized heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths.
Hilal Maradit Kremers, M.D., lead study investigator and research associate in the Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research, says the study suggests three major messages for rheumatoid arthritis patients:
The researchers were surprised to find that the increased cardiac events in rheumatoid arthritis patients could not be explained by an increase in tradition
Contact: Lisa Lucier