Cause of death in 81 autopsied patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Author(s): Suzuki A, Ohosone Y, Obana M, Mita S, Matsuoka Y, et al.


Objective:To evaluate the cause of death and complications in a series of autopsied patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods:A clinicopathological study of 81 autopsied patients with RA was performed.

Results:In order of frequency, the causes of death were infection (23.5%), heart disease (17.3%), respiratory failure (9.9%), renal failure (9.9%), and gastrointestinal disease (9.9%). Observed complications of RA were systemic angiitis in 25 cases (30.8%), systemic amyloidosis in 17 cases (21.0%), and pulmonary fibrosis in 28 cases (34.6%). No patient had both angiitis and amyloidosis simultaneously. The prevalence of systemic angiitis tended to decrease during the study period (1960-1990), while systemic amyloidosis tended to increase.

Conclusion:The cause of death in RA is difficult to analyze accurately because RA itself is a chronic systemic inflammation disease.

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