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No increased mortality in incident cases of rheumatoid arthritis during the new millennium
  1. K Puolakka1,
  2. H Kautiainen2,3,
  3. T Pohjolainen3,
  4. L Virta4
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Lappeenranta Central Hospital, Lappeenranta, Finland
  2. 2Unit of Family Practice, Central Finland Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland
  3. 3Rehabilitation Unit, Orton Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
  4. 4Social Insurance Institution, Research Department, Turku, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Kari Puolakka, Department of Medicine, Lappeenranta Central Hospital, Valto Käkelän katu 1, Lappeenranta FIN-53130, Finland; kari.puolakka{at}fimnet.fi

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Ample evidence shows that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with a shortened life expectancy, with indicators of severe disease and rheumatoid factor (RF) as risk factors.1,,3 Early and aggressive treatment strategies over the past decade have resulted in more favourable functional and radiological outcomes, probably also having an impact on mortality. Methotrexate treatment has been associated with decreased preterm deaths.4 Some studies have found no difference in mortality between patients and the general population.5 6

To examine the present status in Finland, we used the national registry of the Social Insurance Institution, covering all residents, to identify all incident cases of RA with an index day between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2007. The case definition was eligibility—for the first time during the lifetime—for special …

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