A team of researchers from 13 centers in 10 nations is developing a specialized tool that can assess cardiac risks for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Though these patients have a higher than average risk to develop and die from heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure, the cardiovascular risk of patients with RA is underestimated by risk algorithms and calculators developed for the general population, according to the consortium.

The need for an RA-specific cardiovascular risk calculator has been appreciated for many years, but no single study or center in the world has had sufficient data to develop such an algorithm with any accuracy. Currently, the ATACC-RA consortium includes 13 rheumatology centers from 10 nations, and has combined data from 5,685 patients, reflecting almost 35,000 patient years of follow-up with 476 evaluable cardiovascular events.

The ATACC-RA calculator is designed to accurately predict rheumatoid arthritis patientsÂ’ chances of developing heart disease within 10 years. The group plans further work to test and refine the calculator so it can be personalized for patients.

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