Assessment of cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis: impact of the new EULAR recommendations on the score cardiovascular risk index

Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Jan;31(1):35-9. doi: 10.1007/s10067-011-1774-6. Epub 2011 May 13.


To assess the impact of the application of the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) task force recommendations in the cardiovascular (CV) risk of a series of Spanish patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Two hundred consecutive RA patients seen at the rheumatology outpatient clinics of Bellvitge Hospital, Barcelona, were studied. Information on clinical features of the disease, classic CV risk factors, and history of CV events was assessed. Both the systematic coronary risk evaluation (SCORE) CV risk index and the modified SCORE (mSCORE) according to the last EULAR recommendations were calculated. Based on the classic CV risk factors, the mean ± standard deviation SCORE was 2.1 ± 2.3% (median, 2; interquartile range [IQR], 1-3). Twenty-three (11%) patients were above the threshold of high CV risk for the Spanish population (≥5%). Following the EULAR recommendations, a change in the score was required in 119 (59%) patients. Therefore, the mean mSCORE was 2.7 ± 2.9% (median, 2; IQR, 1-3) and, due to this, 28 (14%) patients were above the threshold of high CV risk. Nine (5%) had at least one ischemic CV event. Patients with CV events were older and had more CV risk factors and higher SCORE and mSCORE than those without CV events. Although a large proportion of patients from this series fulfilled the criteria for the application of the EULAR recommendations, the final impact on the calculated CV risk was low and clinically significant in only a few patients. However, an association between the mSCORE and the presence of ischemic CV events was observed.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / epidemiology*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / epidemiology*