Cause of death in rheumatoid arthritis

Br J Rheumatol. 1984 May;23(2):92-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/23.2.92.


A series of 489 consecutive patients with definite or classical rheumatoid arthritis was followed for a mean of 11.2 years. Cohort-analysis of the series showed a three-fold increase in mortality overall in comparison with age- and sex-specific rates in the general population. In patients first seen in hospital early in the course of the disease (less than 5 years from onset), the excess of deaths from circulatory, respiratory and musculoskeletal disorders was highly significant. Malignant disease and digestive system disorders accounted for a small excess of borderline significance. Patients who were referred later (greater than 5 years from onset) experienced, in addition, a highly significant excess of deaths from infections and disorders of the digestive and genito-urinary system but not from malignant neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / mortality*
  • Bone Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / mortality
  • Digestive System Diseases / mortality
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / mortality
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pneumonia / mortality
  • Risk
  • Urologic Diseases / mortality