RA Patients Have Higher Mortality, Especially from Respiratory Diseases

MD Magazine® Staff

Death rates are somewhat higher for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, especially from respiratory diseases, though incidence rates of malignancies are not significantly different from the general population, researchers at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, have discovered.

Death rates are somewhat higher for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), especially from respiratory diseases, though incidence rates of malignancies are not significantly different from the general population, researchers at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, have discovered. Their study results were published online last week in the Journal of Rheumatology.

The researchers enrolled 1,534 patients in South Korea with RA between October 2001 and December 2007. In 6,683 person-years of follow-up, there were 57 deaths. The number of expected deaths for the cohort, derived from the national mortality rate from the Korean National Statistical Office, was 42.33, so the standardized mortality rate (SMR) for RA patients was 1.35. The primary causes of death for RA patients were malignancy, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease. The cause-specific SMR was 4.66 for all respiratory disease, 18.18 for interstitial lung disease, and 10.26 for pneumonia.

There were 30 malignancies found in 1,501 RA patients in the study. The number of expected malignancies based on the incidence rate from the Korean Central Cancer Registry (KCCR) was 34.91, so the standardized incidence rate for cancer as 0.86.