A Third Of Arthritis Patients At High Risk Of Sudden Heart Attack - Go Health

A Third Of Arthritis Patients At High Risk Of Sudden Heart Attack

heart attack

According to research, patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis are at an increased risk of suffering a ‘surprise’ heart attack. A team of cardiologists found that about 25 percent of people suffering from arthritis are at risk of being struck by a sudden heart attack, even though they have no history of heart disease.

For patients with arthritis, the risk of suffering a heart attack was twice that of people without arthritis. This risk was high even when patients had no symptoms of heart disease, and had no association with conventional cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and diabetes.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic progressive disease characterised by inflammation and soreness in the joints, which leads to pain and swelling.

“Our study suggests that one quarter of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and no symptoms of heart disease could have a heart attack without prior warning,” said Adriana Puente, a cardiologist at the National Medical Centre in Mexico City, Mexico.

The study included 91 patients who had suffered sudden heart attacks. These patients also suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, but showed no symptoms of heart disease.

90 percent of the study’s participants were women and the average age was 59 years.

Researchers also took into account inflammatory indicators, such as the severity of a patient’s rheumatoid arthritis, and other risk factors.
The findings showed that 25 percent of the patients had irregular Gated SPECT, which signified lack of blood supply to the heart and the death of heart muscle tissue.

“Our study shows that one quarter of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and no symptoms of heart disease do have coronary heart disease. This means they are at increased risk of cardiovascular death,” Puente said.

“Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.6 percent of the general population and is the first cause of consultation in the rheumatology service. The condition nearly doubles the risk of a heart attack but most patients never knew they had heart disease and were never alerted about their cardiovascular risk,” Puente noted.

The findings were presented at the International Conference on Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT (ICNC) 12, which was held in Madrid, Spain.