Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Rheumatoid Arthritis Detected by Doppler Ultrasound


Background: The excess mortality associated with rheumatoid arthritis is largely due to cardiovascular disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is of primary importance in atherogenesis. The intima-media thickness of extracranial carotid arteries is a measurable index of the presence of atherosclerosis.Objective: To assess carotid intima-media thickness in rheumatoid arthritis by Doppler ultrasound.Methods: Fifty two Iraqi patients with rheumatoid arthritis were studied and compared with another fifty two, healthy individuals matched for age and sex as a control group. Full history was taken and complete clinical examination was done for all individuals in both groups. Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis was based on The American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis. Carotid intima-media thickness was measured by Doppler ultrasound.Results: There was a significant increase in the frequency of increased carotid intima-media thickness among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (44.2%) compared to healthy control group (3.8%) (P=0.000001).Conclusion: Increased carotid intima-media thickness occurs in high frequency in rheumatoid arthritis.