Pericardial and lung involvement in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), suspected to be less severe in a developing nation (Turkey), have been evaluated. We have studied clinical, echocardiographic and pulmonary findings (radiological and functional) in 93 consecutive Turkish patients with definite/classical RA. Findings were compared with those of a group of patients with osteoarthritis or local rheumatological conditions (n = 60) in a blind protocol. Fifty patients with systemic lupus (SLE) were studied as a high risk control group for pericardial involvement. While pericardial disease was detected in 5.5% (5/90) of RA patients, it was detected in 6.6% (4/60) of the control patients. SLE patients had a 26% (13/50) prevalence. Interstitial lung disease was found in 27.7% of RA patients but it was present in 6.6% (4/60) of the control patients. We observed that a group of patients with RA in Turkey had a low prevalence of pericardial disease. This is further evidence that RA has a mild course in developing countries.