Evaluation of cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: Do cardiovascular biomarkers offer added predictive ability over established clinical risk scores?




To determine whether adding C-reactive protein, anti–cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, rheumatoid factor, N-terminal pro–brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL), or anti–apolipoprotein A-I (anti–Apo A-I) IgG to the Framingham 10-year cardiovascular (CV) risk score (FRS) could improve its CV prognostic accuracy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


We performed an ancillary study derived from a prospective single-center cohort consisting of 118 RA patients without CV disease at baseline. The FRS and the various biomarkers were assessed at enrollment and their prognostic accuracy was determined using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. The incremental predictive ability of biomarkers was assessed using the integrated discrimination improvement (IDI) statistics.


During a median followup period of 9 years, the incidence of CV events was 16%. Both the FRS and 3 of the biomarkers (NT-proBNP, ox-LDL, and anti–Apo A-I) were significant predictors of subsequent CV events (area under the ROC curve [AUC] between 0.68 and 0.73). Anti–Apo A-I was the only biomarker to significantly improve the prognostic ability of the FRS, with AUCs increasing from 0.72 to 0.81 and the IDI improving by 175% (P < 0.001).


Among the biomarkers tested, only anti–Apo A-I significantly improved the FRS predictive ability.