Study: Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis more Likely to Develop AF and Stroke

A recent Danish study has discovered that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are 40 percent more likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AF) and 30 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke in comparison to patients that don’t have RA.

What this study means is that there is an astounding 3-fold increase in the relative risk for both AF and stroke in patients with RA who are younger than 50 years, though the absolute differences in rates were highest in the oldest patients. The lead author of the study, Jesper Lindhardsen, MD, and research fellow at the department of cardiology at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte in Hellerup, Denmark, believes that this study is suggesting that the yearly exams for RA patients should include having the patients screened for AF. This study has been published online on March 8 in the British Medical Journal.

So far, many different accounts have been reported in regards to the real risk of strokes from RA patients, but this study is the first one that included RA patients’ AF risks as well. For the study, the researchers analyzed information from many national registries on 18,247 people who have RA. Of the patients, about 70 percent of them were women with an average age of 59.2 when they were first diagnosed with RA. Over a 13-year time span, researchers found that “165,343 people, including 718 with RA, had a stroke and 156,484, including 774 with RA, were diagnosed with AF.”

According to Dr. Lindhardsen, discovering that RA patients are more likely to suffer from strokes and AF when the RA patients don’t show signs of any other diseases is good enough to prove that, if nothing else, RA and AF are closely connected. Dr. Lindhardsen said, “The finding hints that it is indeed RA disease that can cause an increased risk of AF.”

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that is often treated with medications like Multaq. Some of the side effects linked to Multaq use include liver failure and a worsening of the heart condition. Because of the dangers linked to Multaq, most doctors won’t prescribe the drug unless other drugs aren’t working. If you or a loved one has developed liver failure or a worsening of your heart condition after taking Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. We are experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.

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