Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease in the spondyloarthritides, particularly ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2013 Jul-Aug;31(4):612-20. Epub 2013 Feb 7.


The spondyloarthritides (SpA) are a group of idiopathic inflammatory diseases affecting the axial and/or peripheral skeleton. Recent evidence points towards an increased mortality and morbidity due to cardiovascular disease, especially within the two major forms of SpA, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. Several studies have identified alterations of the lipid profile, insulin sensitivity and other metabolic cardiovascular risk factors in SpA patients. An array of vascular morphologic and functional abnormalities has also been reported in these diseases, supporting the hypothesis of accelerated atherosclerosis in SpA. Inflammation appears to be a major player, involved both in the impairment of the classic cardiovascular risk factors, as well as directly in the process of endothelial injury, dysfunction and ultimately atherosclerosis. Multiple studies in rheumatoid arthritis have suggested that effective suppression of inflammation with synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or with biologics may also exert favourable effects in the cardiovascular risk. Although such evidence is currently lacking for SpA, there is little doubt that physicians caring for patients with SpA should aim at controlling both inflammation and traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Such an integrated approach is expected to benefit patients in multiple levels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / mortality*
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Morbidity
  • Spondylarthritis / metabolism
  • Spondylarthritis / mortality*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / metabolism
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / mortality*