Cardiovascular risk assessment in rheumatoid arthritis: impact of the EULAR recommendations on a national calibrated score risk index

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2014 Mar-Apr;32(2):237-42. Epub 2014 Jan 3.


Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the application of the EULAR task force recommendations in the cardiovascular (CV) risk assessment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients according to a national calibrated SCORE.

Methods: Two hundred and one consecutive RA patients seen at the rheumatology outpatient clinics of the University Hospital 'San Cecilio', Granada, Southern Spain, were studied. Information on demographic, classic CV risk factors, history of CV events and disease clinical features were obtained. Both the systematic coronary risk evaluation (SCORE) risk index and the modified SCORE (mSCORE) following the EULAR recommendations were performed.

Results: Based on the classic CV risk factors the mean ± standard deviation SCORE was 2.2 ± 2.6 (median 2). Twenty-two (11%) patients were above the threshold of high risk for the Spanish population. Following the EULAR recommendations 52 of the 124 patients (41.93%) initially classified as having intermediate risk were reclassified as having high CV risk. Therefore, the mean mSCORE was 3.3 ± 4 (median 3) and, due to this, 74 (36.8%) patients were above the threshold of high CV risk for the Spanish population. As expected, patients who had experienced CV events were older, had more CV risk factors and higher mSCORE than those without CV events.

Conclusions: These observations support the claim that the mSCORE should be specifically adapted to the population to be assessed. However, the use of additional tools should be considered in an attempt to fully identify high-risk RA patients.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / etiology
  • Disease Management
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Spain / epidemiology