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BMJ Publishing Group, RMD Open, 2(7), p. e001724, 2021

DOI: 10.1136/rmdopen-2021-001724



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Diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular risk management in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: an international audit

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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AimThe objective was to examine the prevalence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and its risk factors among patients with RA with diabetes mellitus (RA-DM) and patients with RA without diabetes mellitus (RAwoDM), and to evaluate lipid and blood pressure (BP) goal attainment in RA-DM and RAwoDM in primary and secondary prevention.MethodsThe cohort was derived from the Survey of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis from 53 centres/19 countries/3 continents during 2014–2019. We evaluated the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among RA-DM and RAwoDM. The study population was divided into those with and without ASCVD, and within these groups we compared risk factors and CVD preventive treatment between RA-DM and RAwoDM.ResultsThe study population comprised of 10 543 patients with RA, of whom 1381 (13%) had DM. ASCVD was present in 26.7% in RA-DM compared with 11.6% RAwoDM (p<0.001). The proportion of patients with a diagnosis of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and use of lipid-lowering or antihypertensive agents was higher among RA-DM than RAwoDM (p<0.001 for all). The majority of patients with ASCVD did not reach the lipid goal of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <1.8 mmol/L. The lipid goal attainment was statistically and clinically significantly higher in RA-DM compared with RAwoDM both for patients with and without ASCVD. The systolic BP target of <140 mm Hg was reached by the majority of patients, and there were no statistically nor clinically significant differences in attainment of BP targets between RA-DM and RAwoDM.ConclusionCVD preventive medication use and prevalence of ASCVD were higher in RA-DM than in RAwoDM, and lipid goals were also more frequently obtained in RA-DM. Lessons may be learnt from CVD prevention programmes in DM to clinically benefit patients with RA .