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December 1, 1969

Arteritis, Myocardial Infarction, and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Author Affiliations

From Arthritis Midway House; Department of Medicine, New York University Medical Center; and Goldwater Memorial Hospital, Welfare Island, NY.

JAMA. 1969;210(9):1717-1720. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160350029004

During a four-year period, diffuse vasculitis developed in six of 102 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Two of these six patients also sustained myocardial infarctions. Coronary arteritis was found at autopsy in one patient; it was also suspected as the cause of the infarction in the patient who survived. The autopsy protocols of an additional 95 rheumatoid patients were examined. For seven patients with myocardial infarctions, no examples of coronary arteritis were found in the available histological sections. The present study does not support the hypothesis that coronary arteritis is a common cause of myocardial infarction in rheumatoid arthritics. However, occasionally, in the presence of widespread vasculitis, coronary arteritis may lead to myocardial infarction.