Cardiac changes in rheumatoid arthritis.

M. Bély, A. Apáthy, E. Beke-Martos

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We reviewed the autopsy material of 169 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and studied the cardiac changes is these patients. Systemic vasculitis was observed in 26 cases (15.38%) among 169 patients with RA. In 17 cases (10%) we found vasculitis of the subepicardial and/or intramural coronary vessels. Coronary arteritis or arteriolotis has led to multifocal small, and/or large myocardial infarctions in 10 cases (5.9%) and was the cause of progressive cardiac insufficiency, the direct cause of death. Multifocal circumscribed myocardial infarction reported in rheumatoid disease. In 8 cases rheumatoid nodules were found in the myocardium, 3 of them related to vasculitis. We suggest that rheumatoid nodules are the most severe form of necrotizing granulomatous vasculitis. Pathognomic nodular rheumatoid pericarditis was seen in 3 cases and diffuse rheumatoid pericarditis in another case. Pathognomic nodular valvulitis was found in 7 cases. Rheumatoid nodules localized to the epi-, myo-, or endocardium were observed on 9 patients. Generalized secondary amyloidosis was observed in 32 (18.93%) of the 169 patients with RA. Secondary amyloidosis was prevalent in the heart in 29 of 32 cases (relative frequency: 90.62%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-186
Number of pages38
JournalActa morphologica Hungarica
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy

Cite this

Bély, M., Apáthy, A., & Beke-Martos, E. (1992). Cardiac changes in rheumatoid arthritis. Acta morphologica Hungarica, 40(1-4), 149-186.