Temporal trends from 2005 to 2018 in deaths and cardiovascular events in subjects with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis

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Although rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular (CV) disease, the excess of these risks is expected to have diminished over time, in more recent incident cohorts with RA. We analysed the risk of all-cause death, stroke, and myocardial infarction as primary outcomes and all CV events as secondary outcomes in RA subjects compared to the general population, from 2005 to 2018. The risk outcomes were also evaluated in relation to the time since RA diagnosis. We conducted a cohort study using linkable administrative healthcare databases of the Lombardy Region, Northern Italy. Analyses included subjects newly diagnosed RA subjects and a random sample of No-RA subjects. An adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression model was used to calculate hazard ratios and 95% CIs for all outcomes. The study population comprised 16,047 RA subjects and 500,000 without RA. The risks of dying (HR 1.22, 95% CI 1.15-1.30), stroke (HR 1.39, 95% CI 1.22-1.58), myocardial infarction (HR 2.00, 95% CI 1.78-2.26) were significantly higher in the RA cohort, as were those that for secondary outcomes. Differences between RA and No-RA already emerged during the first five years after diagnosis. Risk patterns remained statistically significant during the next 5 years or more. Subjects with RA still have a higher risk of death and worse CV outcomes than the general population, appearing early and not decreasing with time. Preventive interventions are urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1467-1475
Number of pages9
JournalIntern. Emerg. Med.
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid/complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy/epidemiology
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality/trends
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Time Factors


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