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Long-term outcomes and secondary prevention after acute coronary events in patients with rheumatoid arthritis


Objectives Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and suffer from poorer short-term outcomes after ACS. The aims of this study were to assess long-term outcomes in patients with RA with ACS compared with non-RA patients with ACS, and to investigate whether the use of secondary preventive drugs could explain any differences in ACS outcome.

Methods We performed a cohort study based on 1135 patients with RA and 3184 non-RA patients who all developed an incident ACS between 2007 and 2010. We assessed 1-year and overall relative risks for ACS recurrence and mortality, as well as prescriptions of standard of care secondary preventive drugs.

Results The risk of ACS recurrence, and of mortality, was increased in RA, both at 1 year after adjusting for baseline comorbidities (HR=1.30(95% CI 1.04 to 1.62) and 1.38(95% CI 1.20 to 1.59), respectively) and throughout the complete (mean 2 years) follow-up (HR=1.27(95% CI 1.06 to 1.52) and 1.50(95% CI 1.34 to 1.68), respectively). Among certain subgroups of ACS, there was a tendency of lower usage of statins, whereas there were no apparent differences in others. The increased rates of ACS recurrence and mortality remained in subgroup analyses of individuals whose prescription pattern indicated both adequate initiation and persistence to secondary preventive treatments.

Conclusions Patients with RA suffer from an increased risk of ACS recurrence and of death following ACS compared with general population, which in the present study could not readily be explained by differences in usage of secondary preventive drugs.

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • acute coronary syndrome
  • outcome
  • secondary prevention
  • epidemiology

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