Increase in systemic vascular resistance during acute mental stress in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with high-grade systemic inflammation

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Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk for myocardial infarction. It has been hypothesized that mental stress-induced cardiovascular reactions may play a role in the triggering of myocardial infarction. Cardiovascular activity was measured during rest, stress, and recovery in rheumatoid arthritis patients with high systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein > 8 mg/l), rheumatoid arthritis patients with low systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein <8 mg/l), and osteoarthritis patients. Systemic vascular resistance increased only in rheumatoid arthritis patients with high systemic inflammation. Heart rate and mean arterial pressure increased during the stress task in all groups. Thus, acute cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis patients may be related to stress-induced increases in systemic vascular resistance, particularly in patients with high levels of systemic inflammation. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • systemic vascular resistance, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, acute stress