Hand osteoarthritis in relation to mortality and incidence of cardiovascular disease: Data from the Framingham Heart Study

Ida K. Haugen, Vasan S. Ramachandran, Devyani Misra, Tuhina Neogi, Jingbo Niu, Tianzhong Yang, Yuqing Zhang, David T. Felson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Objectives: To study whether hand osteoarthritis (OA) is associated with increased mortality and cardiovascular events in a large community based cohort (Framingham Heart Study) in which OA, mortality and cardiovascular events have been carefully assessed. Methods: We examined whether symptomatic (≥1 joint (s) with radiographic OA and pain in the same joint) and radiographic hand OA (≥1 joint(s) with radiographic OA without pain) were associated with mortality and incident cardiovascular events (coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and/or atherothrombotic brain infarction) using Cox proportional hazards models. In the adjusted models, we included possible confounding factors from baseline (eg, metabolic factors, medication use, smoking/alcohol). We also adjusted for the number of painful joints in the lower limb and physical inactivity. Results: We evaluated 1348 participants (53.8% women) with mean (SD) age of 62.2 (8.2) years, of whom 540 (40.1%) and 186 (13.8%) had radiographic and symptomatic hand OA, respectively. There was no association between hand OA and mortality. Although there was no significant relation to incident cardiovascular events overall or a relation of radiographic hand OA with events, we found a significant association between symptomatic hand OA and incident coronary heart disease (myocardial infarction/coronary insufficiency syndrome) (HR 2.26, 95% CI 1.22 to 4.18). The association remained after additional adjustment for pain in the lower limb or physical inactivity. Conclusions: Symptomatic hand OA, but not radiographic hand OA, was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease events. The results suggest an effect of pain, which may be a possible marker of inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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