This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.
OBJECTIVE: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality as compared to the general population. Indians are also at increased risk of developing early and severe atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Carotid intima-media thickness as measured by ultrasound is a validated surrogate marker of atherosclerosis. We studied the prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis in Indian patients with RA. METHODS: Common carotid IMT (CCA IMT) was measured at the level of carotid bifurcation along with fasting lipid profile in 57 RA patients and 45 age and sex matched controls. Values of mean CCA IMT above mean + 2 SD of the control group were defined as abnormal IMT. Variables of disease activity and severity were measured in RA patients. Patients and controls with known traditional cardiovascular risk factors were excluded from the study. Student t test and chi-square test for proportion were used for statistical analysis. A logistic regression analysis was done to find out independent predictors of abnormal IMT. RESULTS: Nineteen RA patients (33.3%) and 2 controls (4.44%) had abnormal IMT values. RA patients had significantly increased mean CCA IMT (0.558 +/- 0.137 mm) as compared to controls (0.416 +/- 0.002 mm; p < 0.0001). Age > or = 42 years, duration of disease > or= 6 years, and tender joint count > or = 5 predicted increased risk of having abnormal CCA IMT in a logistic regression analysis. CONCLUSION: One-third of Indian RA patients had subclinical atherosclerosis. Age and tender joint count were independent predictors of abnormal CCA IMT.