Aortic insufficiency and aortitis are frequent complications of ankylosing spondylitis but are considered rare in rheumatoid arthritis. A 49-year-old woman with severe rheumatoid arthritis had the cardiovascular changes common to both diseases. At autopsy, the heart and aorta showed granulomatous and fibrinous pericarditis and epicarditis, "core" granulomas in the aortic valve cusps and mitral valve leaflets, and coronary arteritis. These are considered to be classical changes of rheumatoid carditis. In addition, there were mesoaortitis with obliterative endarteritis of the vasa vasorum and fibrosis of the aortic valve cusps with separation of the commissures. These are considered to be changes of ankylosing spondylitis. This case, therefore, represents a mixed form of cardiovascular involvement within the spectrum of the rheumatoid diseases.
(JAMA 235:2510-2512, 1976)
Reimer KA, Rodgers RF, Oyasu R. Rheumatoid Arthritis With Rheumatoid Heart Disease and Granulomatous Aortitis. JAMA. 1976;235(23):2510-2512. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260490028015