Introduction: It is now well-recognised that patients with autoimmune rheumatic disease (AIRD) have a predisposition to cardiovascular disease that results in increased morbidity and mortality. Following myocardial infarction (MI), patients with rheumatoid arthritis have been shown to have an increased case fatality rate; however, this has not been demonstrated in other forms of AIRD. The aim of this study was to compare case fatality rates following a first MI in patients with AIRD versus the general population. The secondary aim was to compare revascularisation treatment following MI in patients with AIRD versus the general population.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study using two population-based linked databases was undertaken. Cases of first MI from July 2001 to June 2007 were identified based on International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification, codes. Thirty-day and one-year mortality rates were calculated (all-cause and cardiovascular causes of death). Logistic regression models were fitted to calculate the odds of mortality by AIRD status with adjustment for relevant characteristics.
Results: There were 79,390 individuals with a first MI, of whom 1,409 (1.8%) had AIRD. After adjusting for relevant covariates, the odds ratio (OR) for 30-day cardiovascular mortality in patients with AIRD was 1.44 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25 to 1.66), and the OR for 12-month cardiovascular mortality was 1.71 (95% CI: 1.51 to 1.94). The 90-day adjusted odds of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft were significantly lower in the AIRD group compared with controls (OR: 0.81, 95% CI: 0.70 to 0.94, and OR: 0.52, 95% CI: 0.39 to 0.69, respectively).
Conclusions: We identified a higher risk-adjusted mortality rate for the majority of patients with AIRD at 30 days and 12 months after first MI. We also identified lower post-MI revascularisation rates in the AIRD group, suggesting there may be current gaps in cardiovascular treatment for patients with AIRD.