Short- and long-term mortality due to sepsis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Severe infections and sepsis are common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality risks. To determine whether RA is an independent risk factor for short- and long-term mortality in patients admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with sepsis. A retrospective age- and sex-matched cohort study, based on data of the SEPSIS-ISR Registry, an ongoing study that collects data on all patients admitted with the diagnosis of sepsis to the ICUs of 7 large hospitals during the period 2002-2012. The primary outcomes of the study were the 30-day and 3-years survival rates. A total of 124 RA patients and 248 non-RA patients (mean age 71 years; 64.5% female) were included. Primary site of infection as well as pathogens distributions were similar between the two groups. Severe sepsis and septic shock were diagnosed in 92% vs. 84% (p = 0.03) and 50% versus 39% (p = 0.06) of the RA patients and non-RA, respectively. 30-day survival rates were similar between groups, whereas 3-year survival rate in 30-day survivors was significantly lower among RA patients (34.9%) compared to non-RA patients (55.7%) (p = 0.01). In multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression, RA was found to be a significant independent risk factor for 3-year mortality in 30-day survivors (hazard ratio 1.63 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.63; p = 0.04). RA is an independent risk factor for 3-year mortality, but not short-term mortality following ICU admission with sepsis.