High blood pressure & cardiovascular prevention : the official journal of the Italian Society of Hypertension 2018 01 12() doi 10.1007/s40292-017-0246-8
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) represents a risk of non-fatal and cardiovascular events. The aim of the present study was to evaluate simultaneously left and right atrial and ventricular function, as well as arterial stiffness, in RA patients.
This cross-sectional study included 55 consecutive RA patients and 55 healthy age and gender-matched controls. Blood pressure and arterial stiffness were assessed in all participants, who also underwent a complete echocardiographic examination.
RA patients were treated with steroid therapy (52.7%), methotrexate (66.6%) and biological therapy (54.5%). Disease activity score revealed low average RA activity. Augmentation index was significantly higher in RA patients (32.2 ± 8.6 vs. 28.4 ± 8.9%, P = 0.02). Left atrial volume was also higher among RA patients (23.1 ± 8.2 vs. 20.1 ± 7.1 ml/m2, P = 0.04), whereas mitral and tricuspid E/A ratios were significantly lower in RA individuals (0.90 ± 0.24 vs. 1.03 ± 0.35, P = 0.02; 1.07 ± 0.31 vs. 1.27 ± 0.35, P = 0.003, respectively). Tissue Doppler systolic and diastolic velocities were similar between the observed groups. Arterial stiffness index showed significant correlation with disease duration (r = 0.29; P = 0.03). Tissue Doppler-derived transmitral late diastolic velocity (A’) showed significant correlation with index of disease activity in the RA patients.
Our results showed that left and right ventricular diastolic function and arterial stiffness were significantly deteriorated in the RA patients comparing with controls. The assessment of left and right ventricular diastolic function, as well as vascular function, should be an essential part of clinical evaluation in the RA patients.