August 1973

Coronary Arteritis in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Author Affiliations


From the Cardio-Respiratory Section, Department of Medicine, and the Department of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center and Rush Medical College, Chicago.

Arch Intern Med. 1973;132(2):241-244. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.03650080085016

The occurrence of cardiovascular lesions in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis has been recognized for many years.1 Manifestations attributed to the rheumatoid process include valvular, myocardial, and pericardial lesions,2-6 as well as systemic arteritis.7,8 Arteritis of the coronary vessels has been found at autopsy in as many as 20% of the cases,9 but only rarely has this complication been diagnosed during life. The clinical diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction due to rheumatoid coronary arteritis was not reported until as recently as 1967,10,11 although the pathological association had been previously recognized.5,7,12

We describe the clinical and coronary cineangiographic features of a patient with rheumatoid coronary arteritis in whom angina pectoris was treated by a saphenous vein aortocoronary bypass.

Patient Summary  A 35-year-old white woman was admitted to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center on May 9,1971. For several years, the patient had been experiencing oppressive precordial pain and

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