Background: Heart failure (HF) is one of the most common cardiovascular conditions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Previous studies showed a 2-fold excess risk of HF in RA versus the general population (1). Whether this has changed over time is not known. Longitudinal studies on trends in occurrence of HF in RA patients over time, and studies comparing trends in HF in RA versus the general population are lacking.
Objectives: 1) To assess trends in incidence of HF in patients with incident RA in 1980-2009; and 2) To compare incidence of HF in RA patients and population-based comparators without RA with RA incidence/ index date in 1980-2009.
Methods: The study population comprised Olmsted County, Minnesota residents with incident RA (age ≥18 years, 1987 ACR criteria met in 1980-2009) and non-RA subjects from the same underlying population with similar age, sex and calendar year of index. All subjects were followed until death, migration, or 04/30/2019. Incident HF was defined using Framingham criteria. Patients with HF prior to RA incidence/index date were excluded. Cox proportional hazards models were used to compare incident HF events by decade, adjusting for age, sex and cardiovascular risk factors: smoking, obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia. Cumulative incidence of HF adjusted for death was also computed.
Results: The study included 905 patients with RA (mean age 55.9 years; 69% female; median follow-up 13.4 years). The 10-year cumulative incidence of HF in RA cohort in the 1980s was 8.5% (95%CI 5.3-13.6%), 1990s was 10.8% (95%CI 7.7-15.1%), and 2000s was 7.1% (95%CI 4.9-10.3%). There was no difference in incidence of HF in 1990s (hazard ratio [HR] 0.91, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 0.62-1.35) and 2000s (HR 0.73; 95%CI 0.46-1.18) compared to 1980s. Patients with incident RA were then compared to 903 individuals without RA (mean age 56.0 years; 69% female; median follow-up 13.8 years). The 10-year cumulative incidence of HF in these individuals in the 1980s was 7.4% (95%CI 4.5-12.3%), 1990s was 7.5% (95%CI 4.9-11.3%), and 2000s was 7.3% (95%CI 5.0-10.7%). Similar to RA, there was no statistically significant difference in incidence of HF in 1990s (HR 0.96, 95%CI 0.60-1.51) and 2000s (HR 0.75, 95%CI 0.44-1.30) compared to the 1980s. When comparing the risk of HF in RA and non-RA subjects, patients with RA in 2000s had no excess in HF risk as compared to the general population (HR 1.14, 95%CI 0.73-1.78, Figure 1). This is in contrast to the 2-fold excess risk of HF in patients with RA in 1980s (HR 2.20, 95%CI 1.44-3.34) and ~1.5-fold increase in risk of HF in 1990s (HR 1.54, 95%CI 1.04-2.29).
Conclusion: We found a reduction in excess HF risk in patients with RA compared to individuals without RA in 2000s compared to 1980s. There were no statistically significant changes in incidence of HF in patients with RA and in individuals without RA over time. More studies are needed to understand the reasons and implications of these trends.
References: Nicola PJ, et al. The risk of congestive heart failure in rheumatoid arthritis: a population-based study over 46 years. Arthritis Rheum 2005;52:412–20.
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, NIAMS (R01 AR46849) and NHLBI (HL120859). Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AG034676. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Disclosure of Interests: Elena Myasoedova: None declared, John M Davis III Grant/research support from: Pfizer, Sara Achenbach: None declared, Kerry Wright: None declared, Reto Kurmann: None declared, Rekha Mankad: None declared, Veronique Roger: None declared, Cynthia S. Crowson: None declared
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