Background Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 1% of the world's population. Patients with RA are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and they have lower survivals than the general population mainly due to an accelerated atherosclerosis caused by inflammatory mechanisms. The early detection of subclinical CVD could allow a more aggressive treatment of risk factors.
Objectives The purpose of this study was to analyze systolic and diastolic cardiac function by echocardiography and tissue Doppler imaging in patients with RA as well as to compare them with a control group.
Methods Eighty two patients with RA (ACR/EULAR, 2010) and 17 of the control group were studied. Patients with atrial fibrillation, diabetes and known structural heart disease of any etiology were excluded. A 2D echocardiography, echo-Doppler and tissue Doppler were achieved following the recommendations of the American Society of Echocardiography. Categorical variables were compared with χ2 test while the continuous ones were compared with the T test. A p<0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results Seventy-five patients with RA (mean age 55±13 years, 95% female) and 16 controls (mean age 51±18 years, 88% female) were included. Median time from diagnosis of RA 10.7 (±9.2) years. There were no differences in sex, age, prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, arterial pressure and anthropometric measures between the two groups. Patients with RA had greater left atrium dimensions, higher systolic pulmonary pressure and higher E/e ratio in both ventricles than the control group. On the contrary, patients with RA had a lower tricuspid and mitral systolic annular plane excursion and a lower systolic left ventricular tissue Doppler velocity. In the following table we describe the most relevant findings.
Conclusions Presence of premature disturbances in both systolic and diastolic heart function was found in RA patients compared with control group. Early detection of patients at increased risk of coronary artery disease would allow early treatment and improved survival.
Disclosure of Interest None declared