Arthritis research & therapy 2017 11 1519(1) 251 doi 10.1186/s13075-017-1457-z
Rheumatoid arthritis patients are at higher risk of developing comorbidities. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of major comorbidities in Chinese rheumatoid arthritis patients. We also aimed to identify factors associated with these comorbidities.
Baseline demographic, clinical characteristics and comorbidity data from RA patients enrolled in the Chinese Registry of rhEumatoiD arthrITis (CREDIT) from Nov 2016 to August 2017 were presented and compared with those from five other registries across the world. Possible factors related to three major comorbidities (cardiovascular disease, fragility fracture and malignancy) were identified using multivariate logistic regression analyses.
A total of 13,210 RA patients were included (80.6% female, mean age 52.9 years and median RA duration 4.0 years). Baseline prevalence rates of major comorbidities were calculated: CVD, 2.2% (95% CI 2.0-2.5%); fragility fracture, 1.7% (95% CI 1.5-1.9%); malignancy, 0.6% (95% CI 0.5-0.7%); overall major comorbidities, 4.2% (95% CI 3.9-4.6%). Advanced age was associated with all comorbidities. Male gender and disease duration were positively related to CVD. Female sex and longer disease duration were potential risk factors for fragility fractures. Ever use of methotrexate (MTX) was negatively related to baseline comorbidities.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis in China have similar prevalence of comorbidities with other Asian countries. Advanced age and long disease duration are possible risk factors for comorbidities. On the contrary, MTX may protect RA patients from several major comorbidities, supporting its central role in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.