Objective: To investigate the incidence of noncardiac vascular disease in a community-based incidence cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and compare it to that in the general population and to investigate trends in the incidence of noncardiac vascular disease in patients with RA.
Methods: A population-based inception cohort of patients with incident RA between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 2007 in Olmsted County, Minnesota and a cohort of non-RA subjects from the same population base was assembled and followed up until December 31, 2008. Venous thromboembolic, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial events were ascertained by medical record review.
Results: The study population included 813 patients with RA with a mean±SD age of 55.9±15.7 years (68% women) and an average length of followup of 9.6±6.9 years. Compared to non-RA subjects of similar age and sex, patients diagnosed as having RA between 1995 and 2007 had a higher incidence (%) of venous thromboembolism (cumulative incidence±SE 6.7±1.7 versus 2.8±1.1, respectively; P=0.005) but similar rates of cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial events. Among patients with RA, the incidence of venous thromboembolic, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial events was similar in the 1995-2007 time period compared to the 1980-1994 time period.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the incidence of venous thromboembolism is increased in patients with RA compared to non-RA subjects. The incidence of cerebrovascular events and peripheral vascular disease events is similar in patients with RA compared to non-RA subjects. Among patients with RA, the incidence of noncardiac vascular disease has remained stable in recent decades.
Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Rheumatology.