How does rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affect the heart/cardiovascular system?

Updated: Feb 07, 2020
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are increased in patients with RA. Nontraditional risk factors appear to play an important role. Myocardial infarction, myocardial dysfunction, and asymptomatic pericardial effusions are common; symptomatic pericarditis and constrictive pericarditis are rare. Myocarditis, coronary vasculitis, valvular disease, and conduction defects are occasionally observed.


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