ACR: Women with rheumatoid arthritis have a two-fold increased risk of death from any cause compared to women without RA
as presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology
In 34 years of prospective follow-up of participants in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had a two-fold increased risk of death from any cause compared to women without RA. Further, respiratory mortality was six-fold higher in seropositive RA and women with RA were significantly more likely to die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer than women without RA. Results from this study, conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, were presented at a press conference at ACR, held in November in Boston.
Their study was of RA and mortality among 121,700 women followed from 1976 to 2010 in the NHS. They validated 960 incident RA cases and identified 25,699 deaths in 34 years of NHS follow-up. Of the 261 deaths among women with RA, 75 (29%) were from cancer, 58 (22%) were from CVD, and 43 (16%) were from respiratory causes.
According to the researchers, compared to women without RA, women with RA had increased all-cause mortality that remained significant after adjusting for age and other mortality factors (hazard ratio [HR] 2.07). Mortality was significantly increased for seropositive (HR 2.33) and seronegative RA (HR 1.60) compared to non-RA women. Each five years of RA duration conferred a 32% increased mortality compared to non-RA. Women with RA had significantly increased risk for mortality from CVD (HR 1.87), cancer (HR 1.35) and respiratory (HR 4.50) causes com/pared to women without RA. Respiratory mortality for women with seropositive RA was six-fold higher than non-RA women (HR 6.23).
“These findings provide evidence of high RA mortality burden that is unexplained by traditional mortality predictors,” the study authors concluded. Especially, respiratory mortality “appears to be an important but understudied cause of death in RA.”
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