Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease with characteristic feature of persistant inflammatory synovitis in symmetrical distribution; it has a higher incidence of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events which account for half of all death in RA patients.
To study the cardiac involvement in long standing rheumatoid arthritis patients in comparison to healthy persons by electrocardiograph and echocardiograph.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
A sample of 100 Iraqi patients with long standing rheumatoid arthritis and 100 healthy individuals who served as control group matched for sex and age were selected after exclusion of risk factors (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking and previous cardiac problems), both groups were studied by electrocardiograph and echocardiograph under supervision of a cardiologist.
There were a significant number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis having abnormal electrocardiographic findings 21(21%) in comparison to healthy persons 7(7%) (P-value 0.004), also there were significant number of rheumatoid arthritis patients with abnormal echocardiographic findings 36(36%) in comparison to healthy individuals 11(11%) (P-value o.ooo).while there were no significant association between disease duration and type of medications with cardiac abnormalities reported in this study.
There is an increase of asymptomatic cardiac structural abnormalities in chronic rheumatoid arthritis patients in comparison to normal healthy individuals as detected by electrocardiograph and echocardiograph.