Background Rheumatoid factor (RF) has been suggested as an independent risk factor for ischemic heart disease in the general population by some studies, but the role of RF on arterial stiffness and cardiovascular risk in the subjects without joint symptoms is not defined.
Objectives We investigated the arterial stiffness in the subjects without joint symptom using pulse wave velocity (PWV), calculated Framingham risk score (FRS), which is used to estimate the cardiovascular risk, and analyzed whether arterial stiffness and FRS were affected by RF.
Methods 242 subjects (164 men, 78 women, 51.2±8.9 years) were included in this population-based study. RF was quantified using turbid immunometry (Advia 1800, Siemens) with cut-off >15 IU/ml for positive values. Information obtained on joint symptoms. Brachial ankle PWV (baPWV) was measured with an automated device. Adjusted comparison of baPWV in RF-positive and RF-negative subjects was performed.
Results Of 242 subjects, 15 had positive RF. RF-positive subjects without joint symptoms had higher baPWV than RF-negative subjects (1472.6±251.0/1408.6±226.1 cm/s, p=0.293), and higher FRS (16.2±10.2/11.9±9.7), but both figures did not reach the statistical significance. However, when we divided the subjects into 2 groups (group A – high RF, ≥40, group B – low RF, <40), group A showed significantly higher baPWV and higher FRS (1640.7±179.6/1405.7±225.7 cm/s, p=0.007, 25.7±4.87/11.8±9.6, p = <0.001). Multiple regression analysis was used to adjust for any potential confounding influences including age, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and RF exhibited significant effect on baPWV (adjusted R=0.038, p=0.030).
Conclusions In general population without joint symptoms, higher RF was associated with increased arterial stiffness, suggesting a pathophysiologic link between RF and endothelial dysfunction.
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Disclosure of Interest None declared