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Mortality Among Patients With Polymyalgia Rheumatica: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Partington, Richard; Muller, Sara; Mallen, Christian D.; Abdul Sultan, Alyshah; Helliwell, Toby

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Alyshah Abdul Sultan


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is associated with premature mortality. METHODS: We extracted anonymised electronic medical records of patients over the age of 40 years, who were eligible for linkage with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Death Registration dataset, from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink from 1990-2016. Patients with PMR were individually matched by age, sex and registered General Practice with up to 5 controls without PMR. The total number and proportion of deaths and mortality rates were calculated. The mortality rate ratio (MRR), with 95% confidence interval (CI), adjusted for age, sex, region, smoking status, body mass index (BMI), and alcohol consumption, was calculated using Poisson regression. The twenty most common causes of death were tabulated. RESULTS: 18,943 patients with PMR were matched to 87,801 controls. Mean (standard deviation) follow-up after date of diagnosis was 8.0 (4.4) years in patients with PMR, and 7.9 (4.6) in controls. PMR was not associated with an increase in the risk of death (adjusted MRR 1.00 [95% CI 0.97, 1.03]) compared to matched controls. Causes of death were broadly similar between patients with PMR and controls, although patients with PMR were slightly more likely to have a vascular cause of death recorded (24% vs 23%). CONCLUSIONS: A diagnosis with PMR does not appear to increase the risk of premature death. Minor variations in cause of death were observed, but overall this study is reassuring for patients with PMR and clinicians.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 23, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 2, 2020
Publication Date 2021-12
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2023
Journal Arthritis Care & Research
Print ISSN 2151-464X
Publisher Wiley
Volume 73
Issue 12
Pages 1853-1857
Keywords Rheumatology
Publisher URL


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