Objective: To identify the incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis–associated interstitial lung disease (RA-ILD) and to assess time trends in the incidence and mortality in RA-ILD. Methods: We included adult residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota with incident RA between 1999 and 2014. Subjects were followed until death, emigration, or April 30, 2019. ILD was defined as the presence of a radiologist-defined pattern consistent with ILD on chest computed tomography (CT). When chest CT was absent, the combination of chest radiograph abnormalities compatible with ILD and restrictive pattern on pulmonary function testing was considered consistent with ILD. Potential risk factors included age, sex, smoking, obesity, seropositivity, extraarticular manifestations (EAMs), and medications. For survival analysis, we matched RA-ILD patients to RA–non-ILD comparators. The frequency and mortality from clinician-diagnosed RA-ILD from 1999 to 2014 was compared against a cohort from 1955 to 1994. Results: During the 1999–2014 time period, 645 individuals (70% women) had incident RA, were a median age of 55.3 years, and 53% never smoked. Twenty-two patients had ILD before RA, and 51 (67% women) developed ILD during follow-up. The 20-year cumulative incidence of RA-ILD was 15.3%. Ever-smoking (hazard ratio [HR] 1.92), age at RA onset (HR 1.89 per 10-year increase), and severe EAMs (HR 2.29) were associated with incident RA-ILD. The RA-ILD cases had higher mortality than their matched RA comparators (HR 2.42). Incidence of RA-ILD was non-significantly lower from 1999 to 2014 than from 1955 to1994, but mortality was improved. Conclusions: RA-ILD occurs in nearly 1 in 6 patients with RA within 20 years and is associated with shorter survival. Lack of significant change in RA-ILD incidence over 6 decades deserves further investigation.
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