What causes the increased mortality in Rheumatoid Arthritis?
• CV: One of the leading causes of death in patients with RA; frequency is increased 1.5 to 2-fold over the general population.
• Infections: Pneumonia is especially common in patients with RA. Historically, fatal infections are increased 5-fold over the general population.
• Cancer and lymphoproliferative malignancies: Lymphoma and leukemia are increased 2 to 3-fold. Lung cancer is increased 1.5 to 3.5-fold. Melanoma may be increased. Other solid tumors are not increased in RA.
• Others: Includes renal disease as a result of amyloidosis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage resulting from NSAIDs (4%), and RA complications (5%). With the treatments available today, fewer deaths are attributable to RA complications, such as vasculitis and atlantoaxial subluxation.