OBJECTIVE: To determine the occurrence of traditional cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and coronary artery calcification (CAC) in adults with polymyositis (PM) or dermatomyositis (DM) compared to healthy controls and to assess the association between CV risk factors, PM/DM, and CAC score.
METHODS: Traditional CV risk factors were assessed in a cross-sectional, observational study of 76 patients with PM/DM and in 48 sex- and age-matched healthy controls. CAC was quantified by means of cardiac computed tomography scan and expressed in Agatston units. The associations between CV risk factors, PM/DM, and CAC were studied by multivariate analyses.
RESULTS: Thirty-three percent of the patients were obese compared to 11% of the controls (P = 0.005). Hypertension and diabetes mellitus were more frequent in patients (71% versus 42%; P = 0.002, and 13% versus 0%; P = 0.007), and patients had higher levels of triglycerides (P = 0.0009). High CAC score occurred more frequently in patients (20% versus 4%; P = 0.04). In multivariate analysis of patient factors associated with CAC were age (P = 0.02) and smoking (P = 0.02).
CONCLUSION: In this study, traditional CV risk factors and severe CAC were commonly found in patients with PM/DM. However, severe CAC was not associated with PM/DM per se, but rather with age and smoking in these patients.