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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 1261582, 8 pages
Research Article

Coronary Artery Calcification Is Related to Inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Long-Term Follow-Up Study

1Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine/Rheumatology, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
3Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine/Cardiology, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Received 1 April 2016; Accepted 3 July 2016

Academic Editor: Tomasz Guzik

Copyright © 2016 Bengt Wahlin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. A long-term follow-up of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to evaluate factors related to coronary artery calcification (CAC). Methods. All 22 eligible patients (4 males/18 females, mean age 65 years, and RA-duration 30–36 years) from the original (baseline; ) study of atherosclerosis were included. Inflammation, cardiovascular risk factors, and biomarkers were measured at baseline. At follow-up 13 years later, CAC was assessed by computed tomography (CT) and the grade of inflammation was measured. Multivariate analysis of differences between patients with low (0–10) and high CAC (>10) was done by orthogonal projection to latent structures (OPLS). Results. Ten patients had CAC 0–10 and 12 had >10 (range 18–1700). Patients with high CAC had significantly higher ESR (24.3 versus 9.9 mm/h) and swollen joint count (2 versus 0). The OPLS models discriminated between patients having high or low CAC. With only baseline variables, the sensitivity was 73% and the specificity 82%. The model that also included inflammatory variables from follow-up had a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 85%. Exclusion of baseline intima media thickness and plaque from the latter model modestly reduced the accuracy (sensitivity 80% and specificity 83%). Conclusions. CAC is related to inflammation in patients with RA.