African Journal of Rheumatology

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Echocardiographic findings in patients with rheumatoid arthritis attending the rheumatology clinic at the Kenyatta National Hospital

E.A. Ibrahim-Sayo, G.O. Oyoo, E.N. Ogola, S Ilovi


Objectives: To determine the prevalence of echocardiographically detected cardiac abnormalities in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.

Setting: Rheumatology clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Subjects: One hundred and four rheumatoid arthritis patients who gave consent/ assent.

Results: One hundred and four RA patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria with a mean age of 51 years and a female to male ratio of 25:1. The prevalence of echocardiographic abnormalities was found to be 62.5% and was unrelated to CDAI and duration of disease. The most common cardiac lesion was pericardial effusion at 39.4%. The tricuspid valve was the most commonly affected valve with 15.4% having Tricuspid Regurgitation (TR). Pulmonary hypertension was found in 5.5% of patients.

Conclusion: This study shows a high prevalence of cardiac abnormalities among RA patients despite these patients being on disease modifying medications and being diagnosed relatively earlier. Majority of the patients were in remission with duration of illness less than 5 years.

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