Published online Jul 18, 2014. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v5.i3.328
Revised: March 12, 2014
Accepted: April 25, 2014
Published online: July 18, 2014
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease associated with increased cardiovascular risk and higher mortality in respect to general population. Beyond joint disease, inflammation is the major determinant of accelerated atherosclerosis observed in rheumatoid arthritis. We review the relationship between inflammation, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis, focusing on the assessment of subclinical atherosclerosis by functional and morphological methods. These tools include flow mediated dilatation, carotid intima-media thickness, ankle/brachial index, coronary calcium content, pulse wave analysis and serum biomarker of subclinical atherosclerosis.
Core tip: In this paper we briefly review the role of subclinical atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis, its relationship with inflammatory process and the current available method to detect early atherosclerotic changes.