Cardiovascular risk factors predicting cardiac events are different in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and psoriasis

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2018 Dec;48(3):367-373. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Mar 17.


Objectives: Increased cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is well established. Examining traditional cardiovascular risk factors alone underestimates cardiovascular risk in RA. Systematic inflammation, measured by erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein is also a major risk factor. However, the contribution of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (such as obesity and hyperlipidaemia) compared to inflammation is uncertain in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and RA. We examine the incidence of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) among patients with RA, PsA psoriasis, and controls adjusting for risk factors, inflammation and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug treatment, to better define cardiovascular risk.

Methods: Using the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage databank, comprising routinely collected Welsh health data from 1999 to 2013, the incidence and first occurrence of a MACE in individuals with RA (n = 8650), PsA (n = 2128) and psoriasis (n = 24,630) compared to controls (n = 11,87,706) was investigated.

Results: Traditional cardiovascular risk factors are higher in RA, PsA and psoriasis than controls. After adjusting for these factors, additional cardiovascular risk was only significantly increased in female RA patients (HR = 1.3; 95% CI: 1.0-1.7; p = 0.05) and psoriasis (HR = 1.2; 95% CI: 1.0-1.4; p = 0.02) but not statistically significant for PsA (HR = 1.5; 95% CI: 0.9-2.5; p = 0.13). ESR and CRP were increased in patients with RA but not in patients with psoriasis.

Conclusion: Additional increased cardiovascular risk was observed in female RA and psoriasis but not PsA. Systematic inflammation is higher in RA but not psoriasis, indicating that there are varying mediators of cardiovascular risk across these conditions.

Keywords: Cardiovascular; Epidemiology; Psoriasis; Psoriatic arthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Risk factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Wales / epidemiology