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Fragility fractures predict CVD events in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis

09 May 2017

In men and women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), fragility fractures are a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and should warn clinicians to target these individuals for further screening and preventive strategies for CVD, suggests a recent study.

To determine whether a fragility fracture is associated with an increased risk of CVD in both women and men with RA, researchers analysed a population-based cohort with incident RA from 1955 to 2007 and compared it with age- and sex-matched non-RA participants. Fragility fractures and CVD events following the RA incidence/index rate were identified, along with relevant predictors.

Cox models were used to examine the link between fractures and the development of CVD, in which fractures and CVD risk factors were modeled as time-dependent covariates.

A total of 1,171 participants (822 women; 349 men) were included in each of the RA and non-RA cohorts. There were 406 and 346 fragility fractures and 286 and 225 CVD events over follow-up, respectively.

A significant increase existed in overall CVD risk for RA participants following a fragility fracture (hazard ratio [HR], 1.81; 95 percent CI, 1.38 to 2.37) but not for non-RA participants (HR, 1.18; 0.85 to 1.63). There were similar results for both women and men with RA.

RA patients are likely to have fragility fractures and CVD, each of which has been reported to increase risks of morbidity and mortality, according to researchers, adding that fragility fractures share similar risk factors for CVD but may occur at relatively younger ages in individuals with RA.

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