Does the “Hispanic Paradox” Occur in Rheumatoid Arthritis? Survival Data From a Multiethnic Cohort
Despite lower socioeconomic status (SES) and higher disease burden, Hispanics in the US paradoxically display equal or lower mortality on average than non-Hispanic whites. Our objective was to determine if the “Hispanic paradox” occurs among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
In a cohort of 706 RA patients, we compared differences in RA severity and comorbidity between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white ethnic groups at baseline. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate and compare mortality risk between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites.
We studied 706 patients with RA, of whom 434 were Hispanic and 272 were non-Hispanic white. Hispanics had significantly lower SES, greater inflammation, as well as higher tender and swollen joint counts. Patients were observed for 6,639 patient-years, during which time 229 deaths occurred by the censoring date (rate 3.4 per 100 person-years; 95% confidence interval 3.0, 3.9). Age- and sex-adjusted mortality was not significantly different between the 2 ethnic groups (hazard ratio [HR] 0.96). After adjustment for comorbidities, RA severity, and level of acculturation, mortality among Hispanics was lower (HR 0.56, P = 0.004).
Despite greater severity in most clinical manifestations and lower SES among Hispanics, paradoxically, their mortality was not increased. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying this survival paradox.