Objective: To investigate the relationship of deaths from cardiovascular causes in mortality of women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There is increasing evidence that subjects with RA have increased mortality from cardiovascular causes, but little is known of its determinants.
Methods: Our study included all women subjects in Finland who died during 1989 and who were entitled to reimbursement for medication for RA under the national health insurance plan. Demographic data on the Finnish population and health insurance statistics were used for computations.
Results: Half of the 1186 deaths of women were due to cardiovascular causes. The distribution of specific diagnoses within this disease group did not differ appreciably from that in the female population as a whole. However, there was a 34% excess of deaths due to cardiovascular causes. The median age at death in women with RA was 2.5 years lower than that in the whole population with deaths due to cardiovascular causes.
Conclusion: Deaths due to cardiovascular causes constitute and important determinant in the surplus of mortality associated with RA in women.