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.