Microalbuminuria in rheumatoid arthritis in the post penicillamine/gold era: association with hypertension, but not therapy or inflammation

Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Apr;30(4):477-84. doi: 10.1007/s10067-010-1446-y. Epub 2010 Apr 16.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) associates with excess cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. New screening tools are needed to better identify patients at increased CV risk. Microalbuminuria (MA) has been shown to associate with inflammation and future cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the present study, we assessed the prevalence of MA in a secondary care cohort of RA patients, aimed to identify factors associated with its presence and addressed its relationship to CVD and the metabolic syndrome (MetS). A total of 342 RA patients were studied. MA was defined as an albumin-creatinine ratio ≥22 (males) or ≥31 (females) milligrams per gram creatinine. The independence of the associations of MA was evaluated using binary logistic regression analysis. Prevalence of MA was 11.9%. Subjects with MA had increased prevalence of hypertension (HT), insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In binary logistic regression, only HT (OR = 5.22, 95%CI: 1.51-18.07, p = 0.009) was significantly associated with MA. There was no association between prevalent CVD and MA, but patients with MA had twofold increased odds of having the MetS. MA is relatively common in RA patients and is independently associated with the presence of HT. Given the association of MA with MetS, future prospective studies are needed to establish the use of MA as a screening tool for RA patients at increased CVD risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Albuminuria / complications*
  • Albuminuria / epidemiology
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gold Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillamine / therapeutic use*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Gold Compounds
  • Penicillamine