Sustained Improvement of Arterial Stiffness and Blood Pressure after Long-Term Rosuvastatin Treatment in Patients with Inflammatory Joint Diseases: Results from the RORA-AS Study


OBJECTIVE: Patients with inflammatory joint diseases (IJD) have a high prevalence of hypertension and increased arterial stiffness. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of long-term rosuvastatin treatment on arterial stiffness, measured by augmentation index (AIx) and aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), and blood pressure (BP) in IJD patients with established atherosclerosis. METHODS: Eighty-nine statin naïve IJD patients with carotid atherosclerotic plaque(s) (rheumatoid arthritis n = 55, ankylosing spondylitis n = 23, psoriatic arthritis n = 11) received rosuvastatin for 18 months to achieve low-density lipoprotein cholesterol goal ≤1.8 mmol/L. Change in AIx (ΔAIx), aPWV (ΔaPWV), systolic BP (ΔsBP) and diastolic BP (ΔdBP) from baseline to study end was assessed by paired samples t-tests. Linear regression was applied to evaluate associations between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, rheumatic disease specific variables and medication, and ΔAIx, ΔaPWV, ΔsBP and ΔdBP. RESULTS: AIx, aPWV, sBP and dBP were significantly reduced from baseline to study end. The mean (95%CI) changes were: ΔAIx: -0.34 (-0.03, -0.65)% (p = 0.03), ΔaPWV: -1.69 (-0.21, -3.17) m/s2 (p = 0.03), ΔsBP: -5.27 (-1.61, -8.93) mmHg (p = 0.004) and ΔdBP -2.93 (-0.86, -5.00) mmHg (p = 0.01). In linear regression models, ∆aPWV was significantly correlated with ΔsBP and ΔdBP (for all: ptextless0.001). CONCLUSIONS: There is an unmet need of studies evaluating CVD prevention in IJD patients. We have shown for the first time that long-term intensive lipid lowering with rosuvastatin improved arterial stiffness and induced a clinically significant BP reduction in patients with IJD. These improvements were linearly correlated and may represent novel insight into the pleiotropic effects by statins. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01389388.

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