Singh, Iyer examine RA treatment on heart

Namrata Singh, MBBS, MSCI, clinical assistant professor in Immunology, has received a two-year, $200,000 American Heart Association Innovative Grant. Singh and her colleagues will study whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) leads to a decrease in major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). Second-year rheumatology fellow Priyanka Iyer, MBBS; Mary Vaughan Sarrazin, PhD; and Diana Jalal, MD, aided in the development of the proposal. Singh said Vaughan Sarrazin and Jalal were “tremendously helpful” in developing the methodology for the study.

The idea for the study itself came from Iyer, whom Singh called “very bright.” Iyer first drew attention to the idea in a department Grand Rounds presentation she delivered. HCQ’s cardiovascular benefits were known to improve lipid and glycemic profiles, but its association with MACE had “previously not been explored in large administrative databases,” Iyer said. Using de-identified data in the Medicare population, the research team will conduct a retrospective cohort study to compare instances of HCQ use, commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and incidences of MACE. In addition to the retrospective analysis, Iyer says they will also conduct a randomized controlled trial with Jalal to study the cardiovascular effects of HCQ in people with RA.

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