Risk of obstructive sleep apnea and its association with cardiovascular and noncardiac vascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A population-based study

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6 Scopus citations


Objective: To define the incidence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and determine whether OSA diagnosis predicts future cardiovascular disease (CVD) and noncardiac vascular events. Methods: Medical information pertaining to RA, OSA, CVD, and vascular diagnoses was extracted from a comprehensive medical record system for a geographically defined population of 813 patients previously diagnosed with RA and 813 age- and sex-matched comparator subjects. Results: The risk for OSA in persons with RA versus comparators was elevated, although not reaching statistical significance (HR 1.32, 95% CI 0.98-1.77; p = 0.07). Patients with RA were more likely to be diagnosed with OSA if they had traditional risk factors for OSA, including male sex, current smoking status, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and increased body mass index. Features of RA disease associated with OSA included large joint swelling and joint surgery. Patients with RA with decreased renal function were also at higher risk of OSA. The increased risk of overall CVD among patients with RA who have OSA was similar to the increased CVD risk associated with OSA in the comparator cohort (interaction p = 0.86). OSA diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of both CVD (HR 1.9, 95% CI 1.08-3.27), and cerebrovascular disease (HR 2.4, 95% CI 1.14-5.26) in patients with RA. Conclusion: Patients with RA may be at increased risk of OSA secondary to both traditional and RA-related risk factors. Diagnosis with OSA predicts future CVD in RA and may provide an opportunity for CVD intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Cardiovascular disease obstructive sleep apnea
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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