Polymyalgia Rheumatica Does Not Increase Risk of Premature Death

Sarfaroj Khan 

August 18, 2020


  • This study suggests that a diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) does not have a significant impact on life expectancy.

  • The causes of death were similar among patients with PMR compared with controls; however, a slightly higher proportion of patients with PMR died because of vascular causes.

Why this matters

  • Findings are reassuring for patients with PMR and physicians.

Study design

  • This retrospective study included 18,943 patients with PMR and 87,801 matched control participants using data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD; 1990-2016).

  • Mean (standard deviation) follow-up after date of PMR diagnosis was 8.0 (4.4) years in patients with PMR and 7.9 (4.6) years in the control group.

  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Over the whole time period, a slightly higher proportion of patients with PMR died vs those without PMR (31.9% and 31.0%).

  • PMR was not associated with an increase in the risk of death (mortality rates: 39.9 vs 39.2 per 1000 patient years; adjusted mortality rate ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97-1.03).

  • Causes of death were broadly similar between PMR and control groups.

  • Patients with PMR vs control participants were slightly more likely to have a vascular cause of death recorded (24% vs 23%).


  • Retrospective design.


Partington R, Muller S, Mallen CD, Abdul Sultan A, Helliwell T. Mortality among patients with polymyalgia rheumatica: A retrospective cohort study. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2020 Aug 2 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/acr.24403. PMID: 32741132 View abstract.

This clinical summary first appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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