Prognostic role of coronary calcification in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2012 May-Jun;30(3):345-50. Epub 2012 Jun 25.


Objectives: To study the predictive value of coronary calcification score (CCS) for future cardiovascular (CVS) events as detected by multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis(RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: A total of 152 patients with RA and SLE, and 106 healthy controls underwent MDCT to measure CCS. All patients were prospectively followed up for major CVS events.

Results: Compared with controls, patients with RA and SLE had a significantly higher mean CCS (42.2±154.3 vs. 1.4±13.0, p<0.01) and prevalence of CCS 1-10, CCS 11-100 and CCS>100 (all p<0.05). After a mean period of 4.3±0.6 years, major CVS events occurred in 10 patients with RA and SLE. In patients with RA and SLE, a higher major CVS events rate occurred in patients with CCS 1-10 (5.0%), CCS 11-100 (14.3%) and CCS >100 (40.0%) than those with CCS=0 (1.0%, p<0.01). Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that hypercholesterolemia (hazard ratio (HR) 11.2, confidence interval (CI 1.4-89.3, p=0.02) and CCS>100 (HR 11.1, CI 1.31-95.0, p=0.03) were independent predictors of combined events.

Conclusions: Coronary calcification detected by MDCT independently predicts CVS events in patients with RA and SLE. Risk stratification by assessment of CCS may have an important role in patients with systemic inflammatory disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcinosis / epidemiology*
  • Cardiac Imaging Techniques
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed