Increased incidence of stroke and impaired prognosis after stroke among patients with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2009 Jul-Aug;27(4):641-4.


Objective: To examine the incidence of, and outcome after, a stroke in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with the general population.

Methods: The northern Sweden MONICA register was used to compare the incidence of stroke in a cohort of RA patients with the general population. Forty RA patients who had also suffered a stroke were identified. For each patient with RA, three controls with a history of stroke but without RA were randomly collected from the same register, and matched for age and sex.

Results: The standardised incidence ratio (SIR) for stroke was 2.7 in RA patients compared with the general population (p<0.05). During the follow-up, RA patients had a higher overall case fatality (CF) following stroke compared with controls (hazard ratio (HR) =1.70, p<0.05).

Conclusions: Both the incidence of a stroke, and the subsequent CF, were higher among RA patients compared with the general population. The results emphasize the necessity of optimising the prevention of stroke and follow-up care after a stroke in RA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / mortality
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Survival Rate
  • Sweden / epidemiology