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RA-induced sleep apnoea tied to CVD, cerebrovascular disease

12 Jan 2018

It appears that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) secondary to both traditional and RA-related risk factors, a recent study has found.

Individuals with RA vs comparators had an elevated risk for OSA, but the association did not reach statistical significance (hazard ratio [HR], 1.32; 95 percent CI, 0.98‒1.77; p=0.07). OSA diagnosis was probable among RA patients if they had traditional risk factors for OSA, such as male sex, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, current smoking status and increased body mass index.

Furthermore, RA patients with large joint swelling and/or joint surgery were more likely to have a diagnosis of OSA. Those with RA and decreased renal function also had an increased risk of OSA.

The increased risk of overall cardiovascular disease (CVD) was comparable between individuals with RA who have OSA and those in the comparator cohort (p=0.86 for interaction). In patients with RA, an association existed between OSA diagnosis and increased risk of both CVD (HR, 1.9; 1.08‒3.27) and cerebrovascular disease (HR, 2.4; 1.14‒5.26).

“Diagnosis with OSA predicts future CVD in RA and may provide an opportunity for CVD intervention,” the investigators said.

This study aimed to describe the incidence of OSA in patients with RA and determine whether OSA diagnosis was a risk factor for future CVD and noncardiac vascular events. The investigators extracted medical data pertaining to RA, OSA, CVD and vascular diagnoses from a comprehensive medical record system for a geographically defined population of 813 patients previously diagnosed with RA and 813 age- and sex-matched comparator individuals.

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Elvira Manzano, 29 May 2018
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