Increased short-term risk of cardiovascular events in inflammatory rheumatic diseases: results from a population-based cohort

Vital Da Silva Domingues, Ana M. Rodrigues, Sara S. Dias, Luís Delgado, Ebrahim Barkoudah, Jaime Branco, Helena Canhão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiovascular diseases represent the first cause of death globally. Inflammatory rheumatic disease (IRMD) patients, due to their lifelong inflammatory status, are at increased risk of developing premature cardiovascular disease. We aimed to assess the risk for cardiovascular events (CVE) in a population-based study. We followed 10,153 adults from the EpiDoC Cohort, a large Portuguese population-based prospective study (2011–2016). IRMD patients were identified at baseline and followed during 5 years. CVE were defined as a composite of self-reported myocardial infarction or angina pectoris, arrhythmias, valvular disease, stroke or transient ischemic attack and peripheral artery disease. Statistical analysis was performed by utilizing multivariate logistic regression and goodness-of-fit and area under ROC curve. At baseline, IRMD patients had similar age as the non-IRMD participants (mean age 55 vs 53 years-old; 72.1% female); dyslipidaemia and sedentary lifestyle were more common (40.7% vs 31.4%, p = 0.033; 87.3% vs 67%, p = 0.016, respectively). During an average follow-up of 2.6 years, 26 CVE were reported among IRMD patients. IRMD patients had higher odd of CVE (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.04–2.58; p = 0.03), despite comparable mortality rates (1.7% vs 0.7%, p = 0.806). A stepwise approach attained that gender, age, history of hypertension, body mass index, IRMD and follow-up time are the most important predictive variables of CVE (AUC 0.80). IRMD patients, at community level, have an increased short-term risk of major CVE when compared to non-IRMD, and that highlights the potential benefit of a systematic screening and more aggressive cardiovascular risk assessment and management of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-318
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2021


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Prospective study
  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Risk assessment


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