Cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: assessment of several traditional risk parameters and a German risk score model

Rheumatol Int. 2012 Dec;32(12):3741-9. doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-2238-7. Epub 2011 Nov 16.


The present cross-sectional data demonstrate cardiovascular (CV) risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The cross-sectional data were part of an interventional trial that included 100 patients with defined RA. Traditional CV risk parameters and risk score calculation for the German population were used to assess the CV risk profile in the collective given. Proatherogenic lipid profile characterised by increased total cholesterol (≥ 5.2 mmol/l) and LDL cholesterol (≥ 3.5 mmol/l) levels was measured in 85 and 66%, respectively, of the study population. Elevated concentrations of homocysteine (≥ 10 μmol/l) were reached by 67%. The prevalence of patients at high CV risk was 12% and increased up to 42% after using a multiplication factor of 1.5. No association was seen between the CV risk SCORE and DAS 28 or disease duration. RA patients in this study showed a proatherogenic risk profile with regard to the CV risk factors evaluated. The calculation of a 10-year risk using German risk charts might have led to an overall underestimation of the mean CV risk. Cardiovascular co-morbidity in RA patients must be seen as a major prevention and treatment target and should be monitored adequately.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Homocysteine