Objective: To determine causes of death in patients with pure polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) compared to matched population controls.
Methods: In a population based study from 1987-1997, 315 patients were diagnosed with PMR. The patients were each randomly assigned four population controls, totally 1,260 controls. The date and causes of death were identified from the data files at Statistics Norway up to the end of 1997.
Results: A total of 65 cases (20.6%) with PMR died compared to 338 (26.8%) among the controls (mortality rate ratio (MRR) = 0.73, 95% CI 0.56-0.97, p = 0.03). No statistically significant difference was found between patients and controls with regard to mortality from coronary heart disease or stroke (MRR=0.78, 95% CI 0.52-1.18), cancer (MRR = 0.59, 95% CI 0.30-1.17), and other causes (MRR=0.75, 95% CI 0.48-1.17).
Conclusion: The increased survival found in patients with PMR could not be explained by reduction in any particular cause of death.