Here's why patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at an increased risk of heart failure- Diastolic dysfunction.
Diastolic dysfunction is a condition in which the ventricles of the heart become relatively stiff leading to impaired filling. Over time, this can lead to heart failure.
They found that diastolic dysfunction was more common in the patients with RA, with nearly 38.9 percent at an increased risk of heart failure, compared to 28.8 percent in the non-RA group.
The researchers compared the frequency of diastolic dysfunction in 149 people with RA to a group of 1,405 people without the disease.
All the participants were asked to complete a questionnaire and had echocardiograms (cardiac ultrasounds).
They also found that patients in the RA group had higher average pulmonary arterial pressure, which is high blood pressure in the lungs and the right side of the heart.
"Wider use of echocardiography in patients with RA may reveal heart abnormalities before they are detected clinically," said Dr Kimberly Liang, assistant professor, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., and lead author of the study.
"Early detection could improve long-term outcomes in these patients," she added.
The research was presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.