Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the second most prevalent cause of death in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The systemic inflammatory state in RA patients is deemed responsible for this finding. Anti-inflammatory treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy decreases CV risk and subsequently might improve the cardiac function by lowering the overall inflammatory state. This study investigated the effect of anti-TNF on the cardiac function in RA patients. Fifty one RA patients were included, of which thirty three completed follow-up. Included patients were >18 years, had moderate–high disease activity and no history of cardiac disease. Patients were assessed at baseline and after six months of anti-TNF treatment. Patients underwent conventional Speckle tracking and tissue Doppler echocardiography in combination with clinical and laboratory assessments at baseline and follow-up. The left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and global longitudinal strain (GLS) showed no changes during follow-up, LVEF 63% (±9) to 62% (±8) p = 0.097 and GLS −20 (±4) to −20 (±3) p = 0.79, respectively. Furthermore, E/e’ nor E/A changed significantly between baseline and follow-up, respectively 8 (7–9) and 8 (7–9) p = 0.17 and 1.1 (±0.4) and 1.1 (±0.4) p = 0.94. Follow-up NT-proBNP decreased with 23%, from 89 ng/L (47–142) to 69 ng/L (42–155), p = 0.10. Regression analysis revealed no association between change in inflammatory variables and cardiac function. Echocardiography showed no effect of anti-TNF treatment on the cardiac function in RA patients with low prevalence of cardiac dysfunction. Moreover, NT-proBNP decreased, possibly indicating (subtle) improvement of the cardiac function.
- Cardiac function
- Rheumatoid arthritis