Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a more severe presentation of acute coronary syndrome and worse short-term outcome

Eur Heart J. 2015 Dec 21;36(48):3413-22. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv461. Epub 2015 Sep 23.


Aims: Despite a wealth of studies describing an increased incidence of acute coronary syndromes (ACSs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), considerably less is known about the clinical characteristics and their association with short-term outcome of such ACS. The aims of this study were therefore to investigate clinical characteristics and case-fatality rates following ACS in patients with RA.

Methods and results: We compared the clinical presentation of incident ACS between 2007 and 2010 and their short-term mortality in a cohort of 1135 subjects with prevalent RA and in a cohort of 3184 matched general population comparators. Rheumatoid arthritis subjects more frequently presented with sudden cardiac death, ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions, had higher levels of troponin and higher frequencies of in-hospital complications compared with the general population comparators. Furthermore, the short-term mortality was higher among RA-associated ACS (7-day hazard ratio (HR) = 1.65 [95% CI 1.32-2.08]; 30-day HR = 1.57 [95% CI 1.30-1.89]), which were somewhat attenuated but remained statistically significantly increased following adjustment for previous comorbidities, demographics, and educational level (7-day HR = 1.50 [95% CI 1.19-1.90]; 30-day HR = 1.43 [95% CI 1.18-1.72]), and for ACS type (7-day HR = 1.44 [95% CI 1.14-1.82]; 30-day HR = 1.36 [95% CI 1.13-1.64]).

Conclusion: Patients with prevalent RA suffer more severe ACSs compared with the general population and also have poorer outcomes after the events, which can only partly be explained by increased event severity.

Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; Epidemiology; Mortality; Rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / etiology*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / mortality
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / mortality
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies