Chronic Inflammation Linked to Heart Disease in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Researchers at Columbia University recently presented findings that may help explain the common occurrence of heart disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Two studies analyzed heart inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients using the same method: positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Typically used to assess heart inflammation in patients suffering from sarcoidosis, this marks the first time this method has been applied to rheumatoid arthritis.

"This is the first report of a quantitative assessment of myocardial inflammation and the largest number of RA patients ever studied for myocardial inflammation," said Joan M. Bathon, MD, Director of Rheumatology at Columbia. "Previous studies were few, utilized cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in small numbers of patients, and relied on qualitative visual detection of gadolinium which cannot differentiate inflammation from edema, necrosis or fibrosis."

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Rheumatoid Arthritis, Heart Disease