African Journal of Rheumatology

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Cardio-pulmonary manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis among rheumatology patients of a tertiary hospital

SA Oguntona, OA Olatunde, OB Bakare


Background: Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease, characterized by polyarthritis and extraarticular manifestations. The cardiopulmonary manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis were studied retrospectively in a cohort of rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of all cases of rheumatoid arthritis seen during the period of January 2011 to December 2013. Case notes of patients that fulfilled the 1987 American College of Rheumatology Criteria for rheumatoid arthritis were retrieved. Data was retrieved from the case notes and analyzed. The case records of patients with pulmonary and cardiac manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis were further studied.
Results: Four hundred and seventy two rheumatology cases were seen; twenty one fulfilled the 1987 American College of Rheumatology Criteria for rheumatoid arthritis. Out of the twenty one cases of rheumatoid arthritis identified, eight cases developed cardiopulmonary manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis, predominantly serositis. The onset of cardio-pulmonary features was independent of the disease stage. Among patients with cardio-pulmonary manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis, three people died of heart disease while one died of pulmonary complication, representing 50% mortality.
Conclusion: Pulmonary manifestation as represented by pleural effusion was the leading cardio-pulmonary manifestation among the patients studied. Cardiac disease was however the leading cause of mortality. We therefore conclude that cardio-pulmonary manifestation is associated with increased mortality among rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Key words: Cardiopulmonary, Involvement, Hospital, Rheumatoid disease

AJOL African Journals Online