Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common systemic autoimmune disease characterized by chronic systemic inflammation. Half of the deaths of patients with RA are due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), considered to be 1.5 to −2.0‐fold that in the general population. Patients with RA also experience poor sleep, which by itself is associated with endothelial dysfunction, CVD events and sudden death. Our aim was to study the mechanistic pathways and the correlations between sleep efficiency and vascular reactivity of patients with RA.
Methods and results
A prospective study that evaluated quality of sleep using ACTi Graphs, vascular inflammation and endothelial function of 18 patients with RA. Inflammation was studied by levels of E‐selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM‐1) and NO in serum. Endothelial function was studied using the brachial artery plethysmography method. Eighteen RA patients (aged 57.56 ± 13.55 years; 16 women) with a long‐standing active RA: Eight patients had impaired sleep efficiency and 10 had a good sleep efficiency. Those who had an impaired sleep had larger baseline diameters of the brachial artery (0.39 ± 0.08 cm vs. 0.32 ± 0.04 cm; P = 0.02). Negative correlations were found between baseline brachial artery diameter and sleep efficiency (P = 0.01), and with NO level (P = 0.04). Stepwise regression found that brachial artery diameter at baseline and NO level could predict sleep efficiency (r 2 = 0.543, P = 0.01).
Vascular reactivity could predict quality of sleep in patients with RA. Quality of sleep may serve as an independent CVD risk factor in patients with RA.