Arterial stiffness is not increased in patients with short duration rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) have increased cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. Arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of CV events. The aim of the study was to assess arterial stiffness and inflammatory markers in patients with short duration chronic arthritis. We assessed carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), augmentation index (AIx), traditional CV risk factors and inflammatory and endothelial markers in 71 chronic arthritis patients (RA and AS) and in 29 healthy controls. We did not find differences in PWV (for RA, AS and controls, respectively: 10 [8.8–10.9] versus 10.7 [9.1–11.8] versus 9.2 [8.3–11.4] m/s; p = .14) and AIx (for RA, AS and controls, respectively: 24.3 ± 11.5 versus 5.7 ± 12.4 versus 10 ± 12.8%; p = .22). Both groups of arthritis patients had active disease with significantly elevated inflammatory markers compared to controls. There were no correlations between endothelial and inflammatory markers and parameters of arterial stiffness in arthritis patients. When analyzing arthritis patients according to median of PVW, there were no significant differences in inflammatory and endothelial markers. We found that in patients with short duration active RA and AS arterial stiffness was not increased and furthermore, there was no association between markers of systemic inflammation and arterial stiffness.