(HealthDay News) – Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with an increase in the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), a risk that appears stable over the first 10 years after diagnosis, according to a study published in the Oct 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Marie E. Holmqvist, MD, PhD, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues prospectively evaluated a cohort of prevalent RA patients (37,856), incident RA patients (7,904), and a matched control cohort.

The researchers found that patients with prevalent RA were at significantly greater risk of VTE than the general population (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9–2.2). From the time of RA diagnosis there was a significantly increased rate of VTE in the RA cohort versus the comparison cohort (HR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1–2.5) detected within the first year, which did not increase further during the first decade. The one-year rate of VTE per 1,000 person-years was not higher in the RA cohort than in the comparison cohort after hospital discharge (HR, 1). Both rates of VTE and HRs for VTE were similar across sex and rheumatoid factor status; rates of VTE increased with age but HRs for VTE were similar across age groups.

“Compared with the general population, Swedish patients with RA had an elevated risk for VTE that was stable over the first 10 years after diagnosis,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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