Objectives: To extend our investigation of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients to a follow up of more than 20 years, with a special focus on patients without prevalent CVD. Methods: The CARRÉ study is an ongoing prospective cohort study on CV endpoints in RA patients. Results were compared to those of a reference cohort (n = 2484) enriched for type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Hazard ratios (HR) for RA and DM patients compared to non-RA/-DM controls were calculated with cox proportional hazard models, and adjusted for baseline SCORE1 (estimated 10-year CVD mortality risk based on CV risk factors). Results: 238 RA patients, 117 DM patients and 1282 controls, without prevalent CVD at baseline were included. Analysis of events in these patients shows that after adjustment, no relevant ‘RA-specific’ risk remains (HR 1.16; 95%CI 0.88 – 1.53), whereas a ‘DM-specific’ risk is retained (1.73; 1.24 – 2.42). In contrast, adjusted analyses of all cases confirm the presence of an ‘RA-specific’ risk (1.50; 1.19 – 1.89). Conclusions: In RA patients without prevalent CVD the increased CVD risk is mainly attributable to increased presence of traditional risk factors. After adjustment for these factors, an increased risk attributable to RA only was thus preferentially seen in the patients with prevalent CVD at baseline. As RA treatment has improved, this data suggests that the ‘RA-specific’ effect of inflammation is preferentially seen in patients with prevalent CVD. We suggest that with modern (early) treatment of RA, most of the current increased CVD risk is mediated through traditional risk factors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number152132
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • Inflammation
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Cite this