Background Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a higher risk to develop cardiovascular complications than general population (1), leading to a decrease in life expectancy of 3 to 10 years (2). RA is associated to increased left ventricle mass, pericardial effusion and diastolic dysfunction (3).
Objectives The aim of this study was to assess the structure and function of the left ventricle in patients with RA and compare the results with matched controls.
Methods We designed an observational cross-section case-control study. Patients diagnosed with RA according to the 1987 ACR and/or 2010 ACR/EULAR classification criteria, 40–75 years old, with no overlap syndromes, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or hypertension were included. Subjects for the control group were matched by sex, age and comorbidities. A board-certified cardiologist performed a transthoracic echocardiogram.
Results We included a total of 44 RA-patients and 26 control subjects. Table 1 summarizes the demographic characteristics for each group. Left ventricular concentric remodeling (LVCR), defined as a relative wall thickness (RWT) >0.42 cm and a left ventricular mass index (LVMI) ≤95 gm/m2 in women and ≤115 gm/m2 in men, was found in 14 patients (32.6%) of the RA-group and 2 subjects (8%) of the control group; this difference was statistically significant (p=0.021).
When we analyzed general abnormalities of left ventricle (either LVCR or left ventricular concentric hypertrophy [RWT >0.42 cm and LVMI >95 gm/m2 in women, >115 gm/m2 in men]) we found 15 RA patients (34.1%) with abnormalities and 3 subjects in the control group (11.5%) (p=0.037). There were no statistically significant differences among the groups in LVMI, diastolic dysfunction, global longitudinal strain or ejection fraction.
Conclusions Left ventricle concentric remodeling is more prevalent in RA-patients when compared to controls. Further research is needed to determine the impact of these findings in the clinical prognosis of RA-patients.
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Disclosure of Interest None declared