Objective: Valvular heart disease is common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, there is uncertainty about how often to perform echocardiographic surveillance in this population. The objective of this study was to assess the progression rate of mild and moderate aortic stenosis (AS) in patients with RA. Methods: A population-based cohort of patients with RA and either mild (2.0–2.9 m/second) or moderate (3.0–3.9 m/second) AS was identified. Demographic, clinical, and echocardiographic data were collected. Annual progression rate of AS was then calculated for the study cohort and the impact of pertinent RA variables on progression rate determined. Results: Sixty-eight patients with RA and mild or moderate AS met the inclusion requirements. Peak aortic valve (AV) velocity and mean AV gradient increased during the study period, whereas AV area decreased, consistent with progression of AS (P<.001). Mean (SD) annual increase in peak AV jet velocity was 0.05 m/second (0.01) and in mean AV gradient was 1.0 mm Hg (0.18). Mean annual decrease in AV area was 0.04 (0.01) cm2. The progression rate of AS was higher in patients with increased erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESR) (P=.001). Conclusions: The rate of AS progression in the RA population was higher in patients with increased ESR but less than that of the reported rate of AS progression in the general population. Although the cause for this finding is uncertain, these results suggest that patients with RA who have mild or moderate AS should undergo echocardiographic surveillance for disease progression similar to that of the general population.
- aortic stenosis
- rheumatoid arthritis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine