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Subclinical renal dysfunction is independently associated with cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis: the CARRÉ Study


Background Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have double the risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease, largely independently of traditional CV risk factors. Renal dysfunction is associated with CV morbidity and mortality in the general population, but data on this association in RA are lacking.

Objective To investigate the association between renal function and CV events in RA.

Methods The CARRÉ Study is an ongoing prospective cohort study of Dutch patients with RA, which records CV events. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was estimated with the abbreviated Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula. Logistic regression determined the association between estimated GFR and the occurrence of CV events.

Results 353 patients were followed for 3 years, and 23 (7%) had a CV event. Patients who had an event had a significantly lower baseline GFR than those who did not (59 vs 79 ml/min, p=0.001). This association remained significant after adjustment for traditional risk factors: in this analysis, a decrease in GFR of 5 ml/min was associated with a 30% (95% CI 7% to 59%) increase in the occurrence of CV events. During follow-up, an unfavourable change in GFR was noted in patients who later had a CV event compared with those who did not.

Conclusion These data confirm that, in RA, renal dysfunction is associated with a higher risk of CV disease independently of traditional CV risk factors.

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