Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, infl ammatory disease, which is associated with an excess of cardiovascular events. A decrease in the compliance of the arterial system, termed arterial stiffness, results in increased cardiac workload. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a priority for modern medicine. Therefore, further studies are required to explore the mechanisms through which CVD increases in RA. Patients and Methods: This case–control study was performed to detect possible change of aortic elasticity in patients with RA, and to estimate the impact of different cardiovascular and atherogenic risk factors on the severity of arterial stiffness. Sixty-three consecutive adults with RA were enrolled for the study (case group). Forty-one healthy adults matched for age and gender were considered as a control group. All were subjected to assessment of aortic stiffness index and various cardiovascular risk factors. Patients with rheumatoid disease (case group) were divided by their aortic stiffness index status to two groups (A and B, with and without aortic stiffness, respectively). Results: Aortic stiffness was present in 31.7% of the RA patients. Age of the patients, duration of RA, smoking index, waist circumference, triglycerides levels, and CRP were signifi cantly higher in patients with aortic stiffness. Conclusion: RA is associated with decreased elasticity of the aorta in both genders, and such changes seem to be higher in the presence of visceral obesity, smoking, high triglycerides, and extraarticular disease severity.
Key words: Aortic elasticity, rheumatoid arthritis, risky factors.