Carotid ultrasound improves risk management in rheumatoid arthritis

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

By Andrew Czyzewski, medwireNews Reporter

A trial of radiofrequency ultrasound in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has shown that carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is significantly greater in patients treated only with synthetic therapeutics compared with those who are also taking biologics.

Esperanza Naredo (Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain) and colleagues suggest that "biologic therapy may have a protective effect on the increased carotid IMT and atherosclerotic process widely described in the literature on RA patients."

In RA, an increased carotid IMT assessed by ultrasound has shown independent predictive value in relation to both subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events.

However, the current standard 'B-mode' ultrasound is manual or semi-manual and therefore requires substantial specific training, and the results are ultimately dependent on the experience of the operator.

Technology based on radiofrequency provides an automated method for measuring carotid IMT, which could circumvent some of these issues.

In the current study, the researchers assessed carotid IMT using radiofrequency ultrasound in 94 patients with RA and 94 gender- and age-matched controls.

Of the patients, 45 had been treated with synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs; mainly methotrexate and leflunomide) and 49 with synthetic and biologic DMARDs (such as adalimumab, infliximab, etanercept, and rituximab).

Naredo et al found that carotid IMT measurements ranged from 349 to 744 mm in the control group, from 377 to 851 mm in the RA group treated with synthetic DMARDs, and from 300 to 773 mm in the RA group treated with synthetic and biologic DMARDs.

Analysis showed that mean carotid IMT was significantly greater in RA patients treated only with synthetic DMARDs than in controls. In addition, mean carotid IMT was significantly greater in patients treated only with synthetic DMARDs than in patients treated with synthetic and biologic DMARDs.

There was no significant difference in mean carotid IMT between RA patients treated with synthetic and biologic DMARDs and controls.

Discussing the findings, Naredo et al conclude in Rheumatology that "implementation of carotid IMT in rheumatology practice may provide additional value to RA management."

Licensed from medwireNews with permission from Springer Healthcare Ltd. ©Springer Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved. Neither of these parties endorse or recommend any commercial products, services, or equipment.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
New ultrasound technology shows promise for preventing brain damage in premature and sick infants