Common carotid intima-media thickness and von Willebrand factor serum levels in rheumatoid arthritis female patients without cardiovascular risk factors

Leonel Daza, Martin Aguirre, Martin Jimenez, Rafael Herrera, J J Bollain
Clinical Rheumatology 2007, 26 (4): 533-7
High atherosclerosis prevalence was found in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and the von Willebrand factor (vWF) was shown to be a marker for endothelial damage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of intima-media thickness of the left common carotid artery with vWF serum levels in rheumatoid arthritis patients without cardiovascular risk factors. We included 55 RA female patients, each with at least 5 years of duration of the disease, and 20 healthy female subjects as members of the control group. The vWF, cholesterol, triglycerides, and the immune variables-rheumatoid factor and reactive C protein-were evaluated. The media thickness and intima-media thickness (IMT) in patients and in the control subjects were assessed by Doppler ultrasound of the left common carotid artery. Although the ages for RA patients and healthy female controls were not different, the IMT of the left common carotid artery (IMT CCA) in rheumatoid arthritis patients was increased in comparison with healthy control measurements, the mean being 0.67 mm (SD 0.18) vs 0.58 mm (SD 0.10) with a p value 0.01. The vWF serum levels showed differences in RA patients from those in control patients, 145.6 (SD 30.08) vs 121.8 (SD 37.17), respectively, with p=0.007. A correlation was also found between vWF with IMT CCA in the RA patients: r=0.390 and p<0.05. We concluded that the measurements of the left common carotid artery intima-media thickness together with the von Willebrand factor serum levels could give valuable information about the artery status and the atherosclerosis process in early stages in patients with rheumatoid arthritis without cardiovascular risk factors.

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