Article Text


THU0135 Cardiac involvement in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). has it changed?
  1. MJ Banks1,
  2. F Ahmed2,
  3. EJ Flint2,
  4. PR Forsey2,
  5. PA Bacon3,
  6. GD Kitas1
  1. 1Rheumatology
  2. 2Cardiology, Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust, Dudley
  3. 3Rheumatology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK


Background Rheumatoid Heart Disease (RHD) (pericarditis, myocarditis, endocarditis) has been reported in 30–40% of RA patients in several echocardiographic studies conducted before the era of aggressive, early therapy with disease-modifying drugs (DMARDs).

Objectives We assessed whether the recent therapeutic trend of early DMARD therapy has had an impact on the prevalence of cardiac complications of RA, compared with historical controls.

Methods 52 RA out-patients (19 males, 33 females) with a mean disease duration of 11.7 yrs who had received DMARD therapy within 12 months of symptom onset (6 months since diagnosis) were assessed echocardiographically. Pericardial disease was defined as pericardial thickening (>5 mm) or effusion. Endocardial disease was defined as either mitral or aortic valve thickening or calcification.

Results Endocardial disease was seen in 12 (23.1%), pericardial disease in 11 (21.2%), left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in 24 (46%). Left ventricular systolic function was abnormal in 3 patients (6%) due to regional wall motion abnormalities due to previous myocardial infarction. Assessment of myocardial disease was confounded by the high prevalence of LVH. There was no significant difference between males and females. Historical controls are shown in the Table 1.

Abstract THU0135 Table 1

Historical controls. (Echo Findings)

Conclusion The prevalence of pericardial and endocardial disease appears lower than that of historical controls. As with other extra-articular disease manifestations, earlier use of DMARDs may have had an advantageous impact on the development of cardiac complications of RA.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.