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Peripheral arterial disease in polymyalgia rheumatica

Frances A Borg and Bhaskar Dasgupta*

Author Affiliations

Department of Rheumatology, Southend University Hospital, Prittlewell Chase, Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex SS0 0RY, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:111  doi:10.1186/ar2685

See related research article by Warrington et al.,

Published: 20 May 2009


Patients with polymyalgia rheumatica have been shown to have an increased risk of peripheral arterial disease on longitudinal follow-up. Possible explanations for this include premature atherosclerosis related to chronic inflammation, as with other inflammatory rheumatological conditions. Alternatively, polymyalgia rheumatica can be associated with vasculitis, even in the absence of clinical giant cell arteritis, and peripheral vascular disease may represent subclinical vasculitis. Further work is required to elucidate the reasons for this increased risk. Currently, it would remain reasonable to aggressively control modifiable atherosclerotic risk factors.