Objectives To examine the rates of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and ischaemic stroke (IS) and to examine the predictive value of total cholesterol (TC) and triglycerides (TG) for AMI and IS in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and people without RA.
Methods In the Apolipoprotein MOrtality RISk (AMORIS) Study 480 406 people (including 1779 with RA, of whom 214 had an AMI and 165 an IS) were followed for 11.8 (range 7–17) years. Cox regression analysis was used to calculate HR per SD increase in TC or TG with 95% CI. All values were adjusted for age, diabetes and hypertension.
Results The levels of TC and TG were significantly lower in patients with RA than in people without RA. Despite this, the rate of AMI and IS per 1000 years was at least 1.6 times higher in RA than non-RA. TC was nearly significantly predictive for AMI (HR/SD 1.13 (95% CI 0.99 to 1.29), p=0.07) and significantly predictive for future IS in RA (HR/SD 1.20 (95% CI 1.03 to 1.40), p=0.02). TG had no relationship to development of AMI (1.07, 0.94 to 1.21, p=0.29), but was weakly related to IS (1.13, 0.99 to 1.27, p=0.06). In contrast, both TC and TG were significant predictors of AMI and IS in people without RA.
Conclusions Patients with RA had 1.6 times higher rate of AMI and IS than people without RA. TC and TG were significant predictors of AMI and IS in people without RA, whereas the predictive value in RA was not consistent.
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Funding This work was supported by grants from the Gunnar and Ingmar Jungner Foundation for Laboratory Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden.
Competing interests None. Johannes Bijlsma was the Acting Editor.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics review board of the Karolinska Institution.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.