Introduction: The present study was conducted to determine whether patients with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) are at an increased risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Methods: An inception cohort of all Olmsted County, Minnesota residents diagnosed with PMR between 1 January 1970 and 31 December 1999 was compared with non-PMR subjects (two for each PMR subject) from among residents. Both cohorts were followed longitudinally by complete medical record review from the incidence date of PMR (or index date for the non-PMR cohort) until death, incident PAD, migration, or 31 December 2006. PMR-related disease characteristics, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and diagnosis of PAD were abstracted from the medical record. Cumulative incidence of PAD was estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the risk of PAD in PMR compared with non-PMR.
Results: A total of 353 PMR patients (mean age 73.3 years, 67% women) and 705 non-PMR subjects (mean age 73.2 years, 68% female) were followed for a median of 11.0 years. PAD developed in 38 patients (10-year cumulative incidence, 8.5%) with PMR and in 28 non-PMR subjects (10-year cumulative incidence, 4.1%) (hazard ratio (95% confidence interval), 2.40 (1.47, 3.92)). After adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, patients with PMR still had a significantly higher risk for PAD (hazard ratio, 2.50 (1.53, 4.08)) compared with controls. Giant cell arteritis occurred in 63 (18%) PMR patients but was not predictive of PAD (P = 0.15). There was no difference between mortality in PMR and the non-PMR cohorts nor in PMR patients with and those without PAD (P = 0.16).
Conclusions: Patients with PMR appear to have an increased risk of PAD.