Common carotid intima-media thickness in patients with late rheumatoid arthritis; what is the role of gender?

Pak J Biol Sci. 2011 Aug 15;14(16):812-6. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2011.812.816.


This study aimed to evaluate color Doppler sonographic findings in carotid arteries in RA patients under pharmacological treatments and to compare them with normal population. Forty nine patients with late RA and 48 healthy age and sex-matched controls were recruited. The two groups were matched for other known risk factors of atherosclerosis including serum lipid abnormalities, smoking status, diabetes mellitus and hypertension. High resolution B-mode color Doppler ultrasound with a 7 MHZ transducer was used for measuring the Common Carotid Intima-Medial Thickness (CCIMT) in both sides in all subjects. Presence of atherosclerotic plaque was also investigated. The mean left and maximum CCIMT was significantly higher in the case group (0.72 vs. 0.62 mm for the left artery; p < 0.01; 0.72 vs. 0.64 mm for the maximum reading; p = 0.01). No atherosclerotic plaque was found in common carotid arteries. There were 3 (6.1), 7 (14.3) and 9 (18.4%) plaques in left internal carotid artery, right carotid bulb and left carotid bulb in the case group, respectively with no atherosclerotic plaques in the controls (p = 0.24, 0.01 and < 0.001, respectively). Comparing the findings by gender in the case group with the controls, the mentioned significant differences were only between the male patients and the controls. The process of atherosclerosis in RA patients is similar to that in normal population. However, it is apparently accelerated and more advanced in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / pathology
  • Sex Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color