Background: Extra-articular manifestations are found in up to 50% of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Objective: To assess the prevalence of pulmonary changes on high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) in patients with RA and their association with demographic, clinical, serological and therapeutic variables.
Method: Seventy-one patients with RA were assessed regarding their age at RA onset, duration of disease, gender, tobacco use, presence of rheumatoid nodules, secondary Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid factor, presence of anti-CCP and antinuclear factor, respiratory complaints, use of medications, and pulmonary changes on HRCT.
Results: HRCT changes were identified in 55% of the patients, the most common being the presence of ground glass opacities, parenchymal bands, traction bronchiectasis, and honeycombing. None of the clinical variables studied associated with the HRCT findings, except for duration of the disease, which was longer in patients with pulmonary nodules and reticular lesions (ground-glass opacity).
Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of HRCT changes in patients with RA, which do not associate with clinical, serological, therapeutic and demographic variables, except for duration of disease.