Total mortality is increased in rheumatoid arthritis. A 17-year prospective study

Clin Rheumatol. 2001;20(2):123-7. doi: 10.1007/pl00011191.


The purpose of this study was to determine the total and cause-specific mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients compared to a control population in northern Norway. One hundred and eighty-seven patients with RA and 930 population controls matched for age, gender and municipality were followed until death or for a maximum of 17 years. The total mortality in RA patients was twice that of their controls (MRR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.6-2.5). Patients possessing serum rheumatoid factors did not have a higher relative mortality than the seronegative patients. There was no statistically significant increased mortality from cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Indications for a higher death rate in RA patients than in controls were found for infection and sudden death.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death*
  • Death, Sudden / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications
  • Infections / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rheumatoid Factor / blood
  • Survival Rate


  • Rheumatoid Factor