OBJECTIVE: To quantify the relationship between Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) disability and arterial stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: A consecutive series of 114 patients with RA but without overt arterial disease, aged 40-65 years, were recruited from rheumatology clinics. A research nurse measured blood pressure (BP), arterial stiffness (heart rate-adjusted augmentation index), fasting lipids, glucose, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and rheumatoid factor (RF). A self-completed patient questionnaire included HAQ, damaged joint count, EuroQol measure of health outcome, and Godin physical activity score. Multiple linear regression (MLR) adjusted for age, sex, smoking pack-years, cholesterol, mean arterial BP, physical activity, daily fruit and vegetable consumption, arthritis duration, ESR, and RA criteria. RESULTS: Mean age was 54 years (81% women) with a median HAQ of 1.13 (interquartile range 0.50; 1.75). Median RA duration was 10 years, 83% were RF-positive, and median ESR was 16 mm/h. Mean arterial stiffness was 31.5 (SD 7.7), BP 125/82 mm Hg, cholesterol 5.3 mmol/l, and 24% were current smokers. Current therapy included RA disease-modifying agents (90%), prednisolone (11%), and antihypertensive therapy (18%). Arterial stiffness was positively correlated with HAQ (r = 0.42; 95% CI 0.25 to 0.56). On MLR, a 1-point increase in HAQ disability was associated with a 2.8 increase (95% CI 1.1 to 4.4; p = 0.001) in arterial stiffness. Each additional damaged joint was associated with a 0.17 point increase (95% CI 0.04 to 0.29; p = 0.009) in arterial stiffness. The relationship between EuroQol and arterial stiffness was not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: In patients with RA who are free of overt arterial disease, higher RA disability is associated with increased arterial stiffness independently of traditional cardiovascular risk factors and RA characteristics.
- cardiovascular disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- disability evaluation
Crilly, M. A., Clark, H. J., Kumar, V. V., Scott, N. W., Macdonald, A. G., & Williams, D. J. (2010). Relationship between arterial stiffness and Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire disability in rheumatoid arthritis patients without overt arterial disease. Journal of Rheumatology, 37(5), 946-952. https://doi.org/10.3899/jrheum.091052