Prevalence and risk factors of atherosclerosis in patients with psoriatic arthritis

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Feb;36(4):203-9. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2006.09.001. Epub 2006 Oct 25.


Objectives: To evaluate the extent of subclinical atherosclerosis by measuring the intima-media wall thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and to identify vascular risk factors associated with PsA.

Methods: Forty-seven patients with PsA were compared with 100 allegedly healthy subjects. Carotid duplex scanning was used to measure common carotid artery IMT. Traditional risk factors, such as gender, age, body mass index (BMI), hypertension, smoking, and lipids were checked. Assessment of PsA activity included clinical patterns of involvement, degree of severity, duration of morning stiffness, number of tender and swollen joints, degree of pain and fatigue, the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index, the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), and fibrinogen.

Results: The average IMT (mean +/- standard deviation) for PsA patients was significantly higher compared with controls (0.76 +/- 0.11 versus 0.64 +/- 0.27, respectively, P < 0.00001) for the whole group and after adjustment for age, gender, BMI, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. The PsA subjects had significantly higher levels of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, ESR, CRP, and fibrinogen, and their average IMT significantly correlated with age, BMI, duration of skin and joint disease, spine involvement, ESR, and fibrinogen. IMT did not correlate with the presence of oligo- or polyarthritis but was increased in patients with clinical spinal involvement. IMT was not associated with the degree of severity or the use of different therapies for PsA, including methotrexate or tumor necrosis factor-alpha-blocking agents.

Conclusions: PsA patients exhibited greater IMT than healthy controls. Increased IMT independently correlated with parameters of disease activity and conventional risk factors of atherosclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / complications*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / immunology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / complications*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnosis
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Common / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Intima / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography