Osteoarthritis: Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
M Mushfiqur Rahman, MSc. PhD candidate
School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia, Statistical Analyst
Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
5591 No. 3 Road, Richmond
BC, Canada, V6X 2C7;

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings of the study?

Author’s response: Using 18 years of administrative health records from British Columbia, Canada, our aim was to determine whether osteoarthritis increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in a longitudinal study. We also examined the risks of specific cardiovascular conditions such as, myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke after adjusting for age, sex, socio-economic status, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and a co-morbidity score.

We observed a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and congestive heart failure among individuals with osteoarthritis compared with age-sex matched non-osteoarthritis individuals. Our data suggests that adult women and men aged 65 years and older with osteoarthritis had higher risks of developing these conditions. The risks were also higher among severe osteoarthritis patients who had undergone total joint replacement surgeries. Men aged between 20-64 years with osteoarthritis did not show higher risks of developing these conditions.

MedicalResearch.com:  Were any of the findings unexpected?

Author’s response: Yes, in our study, individuals with osteoarthritis did not show a significant association with myocardial infarction or stroke. This may have happened due to some factors unknown at this point and data limitations. Our administrative database did not include records of hospital patients treated at emergency care units. Some deaths from acute myocardial infarction or stroke occurred in the hospital emergency care units or at home were not captured in our study.

MedicalResearch.com:  What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Author’s response: These findings can inform both clinicians and patients to develop additional strategies to build cardiac awareness campaigns. Although these results are conditional on further confirmation, the goal could be to increase knowledge of cardiovascular disease risks among men and women with osteoarthritis. The causal mechanism of this relationship is unknown at this point, however, patients should be aware of the adverse impact of factors such as chronic inflammation, obesity and metabolic syndromes, immobility (or less physical activity), muscle weakness, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs use.

MedicalResearch.com:  What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Author’s response: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first prospective longitudinal study of the relationship between osteoarthritis and incident cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we recommend more population-based studies to confirm these relationships in different databases. In addition, we were not able to adjust for all possible confounding factors in these relationships, future studies may include them. The impact of osteoarthritis on acute myocardial infarction or stroke related mortality prior to hospital admission could be another potential future area of research.


Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Patients With Osteoarthritis: A Prospective Longitudinal Study

Rahman MM, Kopec JA, Anis AH, Cibere J, Goldsmith CH.

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2013 Dec;65(12):1951-8. doi: 10.1002/acr.22092.