Public Release: 

Undertreatment of cardiovascular disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients following a heart attack

Results of a separate study show that duration of RA doesn't further impact

European League Against Rheumatism

Results of a study, involving 98,454 patients demonstrated that at 30 days following their first heart attack, RA patients were approximately 20% less likely to be prescribed standard MI treatments, such as statins and betablockers, compared to healthy patients. These finding remained relatively unchanged at 180 days, further highlighting differences between the two groups, with a high number being prescribed the current standards of care within the 180 day period (statins 80%, betablockers 82%, clopidogrel 70%, aspirin 79%) in general.

"Previous research has established that RA patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The results of our study suggest that CVD may be under treated in these patients, due to concerns regarding the use of multiple medications or patient compliance," said Dr. Jesper Lindhardsen of the Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark. "Clinicians may find post-MI treatment in RA patients more complicated which would explain the lower propensity towards prescribing treatment; however this may be increasing the CVD burden seen in RA patients. Additional research is required in this area to establish whether further education is needed."

In the study, researchers identified 98,454 patients (39.4% female), who had suffered an MI for the first time, using the Danish National nationwide individual level registers, which included pharmacy records. Researchers examined 1,113 RA patient's prescriptions (62.5% female) between their first MI and 30 and 180 days following, allowing them to determine whether standard MI treatments had been prescribed or not. Odds ratios were calculated to determine the influence of RA, and were obtained using the statistical tool multivariate logistic regression modelling which included gender, age, co-morbidity and income.

Results of a separate study show that duration of RA doesn't further impact on CV risk over time

Results of one further study investigating the risk of CVD in RA patients, demonstrated that duration of RA did not increase the CVD risk over time. Previous studies have suggested that a number of factors may contribute to RA patients developing CVD such as chronic systemic inflammation or adverse effects associated with RA treatments. However the findings in this study showed no difference in the risk of CVD between patients who had suffered with RA for less or more than 10 years.


Abstract Number: OP0283; OP0161

NOTES TO EDITORS: For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress Press Office in Room N12 (opposite the exhibition hall) of the Congress Centre during EULAR 2011 or on: Email:

Rory Berrie:
Onsite tel: +44 7901 513 297

Dimple Natali:
Onsite tel: +44 7900 138 904

About EULAR The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is the organisation which represents the patient, health professional and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations. In line with The European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), EULAR defines rheumatology as including rheumatic diseases of the connective tissue, locomotor and musculoskeletal systems. The aims of EULAR are to stimulate, promote, and support the research, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of rheumatic diseases. To this end, EULAR fosters excellence in education and research in the field of rheumatology. It promotes the translation of research advances into daily care and fights for the recognition of the needs of people with rheumatic diseases. Diseases of the bone and joints such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis cause disability in 4-5% of the adult population and are predicted to rise as people live longer. EULAR 2011 is set to be the biggest rheumatology event in Europe with over 15,000 scientists, physicians, allied health professionals, and related audiences in attendance from over 100 countries. Over the course of the congress, almost 300 oral and more than 1600 poster abstract presentations will be featured, with 300 invited speaker lectures taking place in more than 140 sessions. To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.