Brief report: Accelerated aging influences cardiovascular disease risk in rheumatoid arthritis

Cynthia S. Crowson, Terry M. Therneau, John M. Davis, Véronique L. Roger, Eric L. Matteson, Sherine E. Gabriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective To determine whether the impact of aging on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) differs from that in the general population (as estimated by the Framingham Risk Score [FRS]). Methods A population-based inception cohort of Olmsted County, Minnesota residents ages ≥30 years who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology 1987 criteria for RA in 1988-2008 was assembled and followed up until death, migration, or July 1, 2012. Data on CVD events were collected by medical records review. The 10-year FRS for CVD was calculated. Cox models adjusted for FRS were used to examine the influence of age on CVD risk. Results The study included 563 patients with RA without prior CVD (mean age 55 years, 72% women, and 69% seropositive [i.e., rheumatoid factor and/or anti-citrullinated protein antibody positive]). During a mean followup of 8.2 years, 98 patients developed CVD (74 seropositive and 24 seronegative), but the FRS predicted only 59.7 events (35.4 seropositive and 24.3 seronegative). The gap between observed and predicted CVD risk increased exponentially across age, and the effect of age on CVD risk in seropositive RA was nearly double its effect in the general population, with additional log(age) coefficients of 2.91 for women (P = 0.002) and 2.06 for men (P = 0.027). Conclusion Our findings indicate that age exerts an exponentially increasing effect on CVD risk in seropositive RA, but no increased effect among seronegative patients. The causes of accelerated aging in patients with seropositive RA deserve further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2562-2566
Number of pages5
JournalArthritis and rheumatism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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