Our goal was to study the prevalence of systemic sclerosis (SSc) subtypes, autoantibody profile, and pulmonary fibrosis in a large group of Han Chinese. Chinese SSc patients (n=419) were recruited from a multicenter study including hospitals and outpatient clinics in China. All patients met the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for SSc. Anti-topoisomerase (ATA), anti-centromere (ACA), anti- RNA polymerase III (anti-RNAP3), and anti-U1- ribonucleoprotein (anti-U1RNP) were detected utilizing commercially available kits. The clinical and autoantibody information in Chinese patients was compared to that in the US Caucasian patients (n=834), recruited from the Genetics versus Environment in Scleroderma Outcome Study and Scleroderma Family Registry. Chi-square test was utilized for the abovementioned comparisons. Chinese patients showed 40.3 % limited (lcSSc) and 59.7 % diffuse (dcSSc) forms of SSc. ATA was found in 59.9 %, ACA in 13.4 %, anti-RNAP3 in 1.3 %, and anti-U1RNP in 18 % of Chinese SSc patients. Compared to US patients (65.1 % lcSSc, 34.9 % dcSSc, ATA in 18.7 %, ACA in 32.4 %, anti-RNAP3 in 17.4 %, and anti-U1RNP in 2.8 %), Chinese SSc patients are significantly higher in dcSSc and the frequencies of ATA and anti-U1RNP, but lower in ACA and anti-RNAP3. In addition, pulmonary fibrosis was observed in 78 % Chinese SSc patients and was strongly associated with the presence of ATA. The present study represents the first report of SSc features in a large group of Chinese patients. Clinical subtypes and the frequencies of SSc-related autoantibodies in Chinese SSc patients are significantly different from those in SSc patients of the US Caucasian descent.
Anti-centromere antibody; Anti-topoisomerase antibody; Autoantibodies; Pulmonary fibrosis; Systemic sclerosis
To compare patients’ global assessments of change in knee, hip, and back symptoms with actual changes over time in pain, function, and radiographic severity.
Participants (n=894, 80% female, mean age=66 years) completed two assessments (mean of 4 years apart) as part of a study on the genetics of generalized osteoarthritis. At both assessments, participants completed the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities OA Index (WOMAC), and radiographic severity was assessed for knees, hips, and low back. At the second assessment, participants described changes in knee, hip, and low back symptoms as Worse, Better, Same, or Never Had Symptoms. Analysis of covariance models examined mean changes in WOMAC scores and radiographic severity according to categories of the global assessment measures. Statistical significance was examined for linear trend.
Mean WOMAC total, pain, and function scores decreased (indicating improvement) among participants who indicated joint symptoms were Better; showed little change among those who reported symptoms were the Same/Never Had Symptoms; and increased among those who reported symptoms were Worse. For all analyses except the comparison of WOMAC pain change according to global assessment of low back symptom change, there was a statistically significant linear trend (p<0.05). Patterns were similar for changes in radiographic severity, but the tests of linear trend were not statistically significant.
Results support the concordance of these global assessments of joint symptom change with actual changes in self-reported symptoms. These global assessments may be useful for assessing change over time when baseline data are unavailable.
Osteoarthritis; Knee; Hip; Back; Pain; Function; Psychometrics
The aim of the present study was to conduct a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of tofacitinib, a novel oral Janus kinase inhibitor, recently approved for the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis in patients who have failed previous treatment with methotrexate (MTX) or other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and other databases till 3 May 2013. All included studies were analyzed with the use of the Review Manager 5.1.0. software according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Statement protocol. Nine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing tofacitinib with placebo were identified. Two of them additionally provided the comparison with adalimumab. However, only eight RCTs met the inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. The overall results of the meta-analysis showed that tofacitinib provided a statistically significant improvement according to the response criteria (ACR20/50/70) after 12 weeks of treatment when compared to placebo (p < 0.00001). Moreover, it was demonstrated that tofacitinib was significantly superior to adalimumab in achieving the ACR50 response criteria at week 12 (p = 0.003). For the safety analysis, there were no statistically significant differences between tofacitinib-, adalimumab-, and placebo-treated patients in respect to the risk of serious adverse events or treatment discontinuation due to adverse reactions (p > 0.05). The findings of this systematic review with meta-analysis indicate that tofacitinib monotherapy or with background methotrexate provides early statistically significant and clinically important improvement in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and has an acceptable safety profile comparable to that of placebo. The results of the present meta-analysis show that the frequency of serious adverse events was not increased after tofacitinib treatment. In addition, tofacitinib might provide an effective treatment option compared to intravenous or subcutaneous biological DMARDs, as suggested by the result of the comparison made regarding tofacitinib vs. adalimumab ACR50 response rate.
Meta-analysis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Systematic review; Tofacitinib
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and life-threatening disease. Understanding of PAH prevalence remains limited, but PAH has been reported as a frequent complication in connective tissue diseases. This study estimated prevalence of PAH in patients with connective tissue diseases and prevalence of idiopathic PAH using a systematic review of the literature. We searched PubMed through May 19, 2012 for all studies on prevalence of PAH in patients with connective tissue diseases or prevalence of idiopathic PAH. To be included, studies had to be in English, have humans as subjects, and determine prevalence within a time interval of up to 2 years. Studies only investigating pediatric patients were excluded. Pooled prevalence estimates were calculated. Twenty studies were identified in the review. Seventeen of the 20 studies reported prevalence of PAH in connective tissue diseases and three reported prevalence of idiopathic PAH. The pooled prevalence estimate of idiopathic PAH was 12 cases per million population (95 % CI 5 cases per million to 22 cases per million) with estimates ranging from 5.9 cases per million population to 25 cases per million population. The pooled prevalence estimate of PAH in patients with connective tissue diseases was 13 % (95 % CI, 9.18 % to 18.16 %) with reported estimates ranging from 2.8 % to 32 %. Prevalence of PAH in patients with connective tissue diseases was substantially higher than that of idiopathic PAH based on pooled prevalence estimates. Comparisons of PAH prevalence in persons with connective tissue disease and idiopathic PAH using a large observational study would be helpful in better assessing relative prevalence.
Connective tissue diseases; Prevalence; Pulmonary hypertension; Review
The prevalence and impact of chronic pain differ between ethnic groups. We report a study of the comparative prevalence and impact of chronic pain in Bangladeshi, British Bangladeshi and White British/Irish people. We posted a short questionnaire to a random sample of 4,480 patients registered with 16 general practices in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and conducted a longer questionnaire with patients in the waiting areas at those practices. We distinguished between Bangladeshi participants who were born in the UK or had arrived in the UK at the age of 14 or under (British Bangladeshi) and those who arrived in UK at the age of over 14 (Bangladeshi). We obtained 1,223/4,480 (27 %) responses to the short survey and 600/637 (94 %) to the long survey. From the former, the prevalence of chronic pain in the White, British Bangladeshi and Bangladeshi groups was 55, 54 and 72 %, respectively. The corresponding figures from the long survey were 49, 45 and 70 %. Chronic widespread pain was commoner in the Bangladeshi (16 %) than in the White (10 %) or British Bangladeshi (9 %) groups. People with chronic pain experienced poorer quality of life (odds ratio for scoring best possible health vs. good health (or good vs. poor health) 5.6 (95 % confidence interval 3.4 to 9.8)), but we found no evidence of differences between ethnic groups in the impact of chronic pain on the quality of life. Chronic pain is commoner and, of greater severity, in Bangladeshis than in Whites. On most measures in this study, British Bangladeshis resembled the Whites more than the Bangladeshis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10067-013-2286-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Chronic pain; Comparative prevalence; Ethnicity; Quality of life
Indirect immunofluorescence antinuclear antibodies (IIF-ANA) are detected in approximately 90% of scleroderma patients, and the staining pattern correlates with scleroderma-specific antibody subsets. Solid-phase ANA assays that are dependent on multiplex bead technology (MULTIPLEX-ANA) are replacing immunofluorescence in many commercial labs; however, performance of these assays has not been compared to IIF-ANA in scleroderma. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a proportion of scleroderma patients have negative testing on MULTIPLEX-ANA assays and demonstrate whether negative MULTIPLEX-ANA is associated with particular scleroderma-specific autoantibodies. A retrospective chart review was completed on all 238 scleroderma patients evaluated in the Georgetown scleroderma clinic between June 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009. Autoantibody results, demographics, and scleroderma features were collected. Data were analyzed using unpaired t test and Mann–Whitney U test for continuous variables, and Fisher’s exact test for dichotomous variables. Simple kappa coefficient was used to measure the level of agreement between MULTIPLEX-ANA and IIF-ANA results. Two-tailed p values <0.05 were considered significant. MULTIPLEX-ANA testing was available in 57 patients and only 29 (51%) tested positive. In contrast, IIF-ANA was positive in 91% of these patients. Using simple kappa coefficient, there was a good agreement between the MULTIPLEX-ANA, and presence of Scl70, RNP, and centromere antibodies (0.76; 95% CI 0.59, 0.92), but there was no agreement between MULTIPLEX-ANA and presence of other IIF-ANA patterns including nucleolar ANA (−0.40; 95% CI −0.64, −0.16). Because RNA polymerase III and nucleolar antibodies are seen in 43% of the entire scleroderma population, we are concerned that these false-negative tests could result in delays in referral and diagnosis. Until the MULTIPLEX-ANA assays can be modified to include the antigens for RNA polymerase III and the nucleolar ANA subsets, IIF-ANA remains the recommended screening test for ANA in suspected scleroderma.
Antinuclear antibody; Autoantibody; IF-ANA; Immunofluorescence; Multiplex; Scleroderma
Leprosy can manifest arthritis both as a complication and a comorbid disorder and can be a challenging differential diagnosis in rheumatology practice due to several common features. Uncommonly, it may present as acute severe polyarthritis with skin lesions and neurological deficit or a digital vasculitis and gangrene. We demonstrate this profile in a retrospective case series analysis of 33 patients (13 females, median age 55 years) in a community-based clinic setting over the period 1998–2012; an electronic search of case records of 41,000 patients was carried out. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) coexisted in seven patients (three lepromatous, two tuberculoid, and two polyneuritic). Serological rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibody were often false positive. Several patients of RA were on long-term supervised methotrexate. Rheumatologists should be aware of this clinical mimic to avoid errors in diagnosis and management.
Arthritis; Hansen’s disease; Infection; Leprosy; Rheumatology
Autoantibodies to topoisomerase I (topo I), RNA polymerase III (RNAPIII), centromere, U3RNP/fibrillarin, Th, PM-Scl, and U1RNP found in scleroderma (SSc) are associated with unique clinical subsets. The effects of race and gender on autoantibody prevalence and clinical manifestations were examined. Autoantibodies in sera from 105 SSc (include 75 Caucasian, 24 African-American, 6 others; 89 females and 16 males) were analyzed by immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation. Clinical information was from database. SSc-related autoantibodies seldom coexist except for anti-topo I and anti-U1RNP. Anti-topo I (35% vs 15%), anti-U3RNP (30% vs 3%, p=0.0005), and anti-U1RNP (30% vs 13%) were more common in African-Americans vs Caucasians. Anti-centromere (17%) and anti-PM-Scl (only in 8% of female) were found only in Caucasians. In race/gender combination, all three African-American males had anti-topo I (p=0.04). Anti-U3RNP (35% vs 3%, p=0.0005) and anti-U1RNP were common in African-American females. In African-American, all nucleolar dominant staining sera had anti-U3RNP; nuclear pattern was topo I (50%), U1RNP (19%), and RNAPIII (13%). In Caucasian, nucleolar was anti-Th (43%) and PM-Scl (29%); nuclear pattern was RNAPIII (29%), topo I (24%), and U1RNP (18%). Anti-topo I, anti-RNAPIII, and anti-U3RNP were associated with diffuse SSc while anti-centromere, anti-Th, and anti-U1 with limited disease. Proximal scleroderma was less common in African-American with anti-topo I (38% vs 91% in Caucasian, p=0.04). The production of SSc-related autoantibodies is gender and race dependent, and this can be highly relevant in understanding their clinical significance.
Autoantibodies; Gender; Race; Scleroderma; Systemic sclerosis
The heterogeneity of patients meeting American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (FM) challenges our ability to understand the underlying pathogenesis and to optimize treatment of this enigmatic disorder. Our goal was to discern clinically relevant subgroups across multiple psychological and biomedical domains to better characterize the phenomenology of FM. Women meeting 1990 ACR criteria for FM (N=107) underwent psychological (childhood trauma, mood, anxiety, and stress) and biomedical (neuroendocrine, immune, metabolic) testing. Cluster analysis identified four distinct subgroups. Subgroups I, II and III exhibited profiles that included high psychological distress. Subgroup I was further distinguished by a history of childhood maltreatment and hypocortisolism, and these women reported the most pain and disability. Subgroup II evinced more physiological dysregulation and also reported high levels of pain, fatigue, and disability. Subgroup III was characterized by normal biomarkers and reported intermediate pain severity with higher global functioning. Subgroup IV was distinguished by their psychological wellbeing, reporting less disability and pain. Our findings underscore the heterogeneity of both psychological and physiological features among FM patients presenting with nearly identical TP counts. This subgroup categorization is compatible with hypothesized pathogenetic mechanisms of early trauma, stress system dysregulation, and pro-inflammatory bias, each prominent in some but not all FM patients. Appreciation of distinct FM subgroup features is invaluable for selecting the most appropriate treatment modalities.
Fibromyalgia; Pain; Distress; Maltreatment; Immune; Metabolic; neuroendocrine [6 MeSH terms]
Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) is a rare, autoimmune small and medium vessel vasculitis. EGPA is accompanied by asthma and involves mainly the blood vessels of the lungs, gastrointestinal system, and peripheral nerves; however, the skin, kidneys, and heart may be also affected. To investigate if patients with EGPA experience reduced health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and the effect of this parameter on their own perception of future health outlook. Twenty-six EGPA patients are in disease remission and completed a custom-designed questionnaire and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36). Using the RAND method, eight HRQOL dimensions were calculated: general health, physical functioning, emotional role limitations, physical role limitations, social functioning, mental health, bodily pain, and vitality. Using norm-based scores, the HRQOL of patients was compared with that of the general population. EGPA patients had decreased HRQOL across all eight dimensions of the SF-36. Patients with higher mental component score felt more positive about their future health, while patients with low physical component score were likely not to feel negatively about their future health. Also, 36 % of older patients (>50 years) had a positive outlook compared to 47 % of younger patients (<50 years) and patients with a longer disease course were much less likely to have a positive outlook (30 % positive) than those with a shorter course (50 % positive). Although not statistically significant, these correlations warrant further investigation with a larger patient population. Despite being in disease remission, EGPA patients had decreased quality of life, which in turn influenced their perception of their future health outlook.
Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Quality of life; Vasculitis
To seek the cutoff value of the 28-joint disease activity score using erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR) that is necessary to achieve remission under the new Boolean-based criteria, we analyzed the data for 285 patients with rheumatoid arthritis registered between May 2008 and November 2009 by the Michinoku Tocilizumab Study Group and observed for 1 year after receiving tocilizumab (TCZ) in real clinical practice. Remission rates under the DAS28-ESR criteria and the Boolean criteria were assessed every 6 months after the first TCZ dose. The DAS28-ESR cutoff value necessary to achieve remission under the new criteria was analyzed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Data were analyzed using last observation carried forward. After 12 months of TCZ use, remission was achieved in 164 patients (57.5 %) by DAS28-ESR and 71 patients (24.9 %) under the new criteria for clinical trials. CRP levels scarcely affected remission rates, and the difference between remission rates defined by DAS28-ESR and by the new criteria was mainly due to patient global assessment (PGA). Improvement of PGA was inversely related to disease duration. ROC analysis revealed that the DAS28-ESR cutoff value necessary to predict remission under the new criteria for clinical trials was 1.54, with a sensitivity of 88.7 %, specificity of 85.5 %, positive predictive value of 67.0 %, and negative predictive value of 95.8 %. A DAS28-ESR cutoff value of 1.54 may be reasonable to predict achievement of remission under the new Boolean-based criteria for clinical trials in patients receiving TCZ.
Boolean; Criteria; DAS28-ESR; Remission; Tocilizumab
The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and safety of adalimumab in patients with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in Japan. Patients aged 4 to 17 years were enrolled in a single-arm, open-label, multicentre study of adalimumab. Patients weighing <30 kg received 20 mg every other week (eow), and those ≥30 kg received 40 mg eow. Concomitant methotrexate (MTX) was allowed (≤10 mg/m2 per week). The primary efficacy outcome was the percent of patients with American College of Rheumatology Pediatric 30 response (ACR Pedi 30) at week 16. JIA core variables, serum adalimumab concentrations, and anti-adalimumab antibodies (AAAs) were analysed. Patients were monitored for adverse events (AEs). Twenty-five patients (20 with concomitant MTX at baseline and 5 without) were enrolled: 24 patients completed 16 weeks of therapy and 22 patients completed 60 weeks. At week 16, 90 % of patients with MTX and 100 % without MTX achieved ACR Pedi 30; response rates were maintained through week 60 in 94 and 80 % of patients, respectively. Each JIA core variable improved over time. Six patients became AAA positive (two each at weeks 8, 16, and 60), some of which were transient. All six AAA-positive patients achieved ACR Pedi 30 at week 16, and four maintained that response at week 60. Six patients (all with MTX) experienced nine serious AEs (JIA, pyrexia, arthralgia, pneumonia, hepatitis B infection, pharyngitis, dehydration, pharyngeal pain, and pneumonia). In pediatric patients with polyarticular JIA in Japan, adalimumab was safe and effective for reducing disease activity for up to 60 weeks.
Adalimumab; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Methotrexate; Pharmacokinetics
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease. Decreased bone mineral density (BMD) is a common complication of AS, with a prevalence range of 19 to 62 %. Many studies have shown decreased BMD in AS with long disease duration, but only a few studies investigated BMD in early AS. The prevalence of decreased BMD in early disease stages of AS has not yet been clearly described, and for that reason, we reviewed the literature which describes the prevalence of decreased BMD in AS patients with a short disease duration (<10 years). In this review, we included articles which used the modified New York criteria for the diagnosis of AS, included patients with a disease duration of less than 10 years, and used the WHO criteria for osteopenia and osteoporosis. Decreased BMD was defined as a T score < −1.0, including both osteopenia and osteoporosis. For this review, only articles that acquired BMD data of lumbar spine and femoral neck by DXA were used. The literature search provided us 35 articles of which 7 matched all our criteria, and they will be further outlined in this review. The overall prevalence of decreased BMD of the articles reviewed is 54 % (n = 229/424) for lumbar spine and 51 % (n = 224/443) for femoral neck. The prevalence of osteopenia vs. osteoporosis for lumbar spine is 39 vs. 16 % and for femoral neck, 38 vs. 13 %. This review showed a high total prevalence of 51–54 % decreased BMD and 13–16 % osteoporosis in AS with a short disease duration. This high prevalence was not to be expected in a relatively young and predominantly male population. Further research is needed to determine the clinical relevance of this low BMD by investigating the relation between low BMD and vertebral and nonvertebral fractures at this early stage in AS.
Ankylosing spondylitis; Bone mineral density; Osteopenia; Osteoporosis; Vertebral fractures
Lower extremity ulcers are a recognized complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Their prevalence has not been assessed since the advent of more aggressive disease modifying antirheumatic therapies. The purpose of this study was to establish the period prevalence of lower extremity ulcers in a modern-day unselected cohort of patients with RA, and to report the features associated with ulcer development and response to therapy. Between June 2007 and June 2010, 366 RA patients were evaluated at the Georgetown Division of Rheumatology. Data were collected and analyzed retrospectively on demographics, antibody and prothrombotic profile, comorbidities, disease activity, and outcomes. The period prevalence of ulcers in this cohort of 366 patients with RA followed over 3 years was 4.37%. Patients with ulcers were predominantly female (81.25%) and more commonly African American (56.2%). The mean disease duration at ulcer development was 25.9 years. All patients with ulcers had erosive disease and 63% were seropositive. Only five patients (31.25%) healed over a mean follow-up of 22.8 months. However, in this small sample, treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (anti-TNFα) therapy was associated with significantly higher likelihood of healing (p=0.039). In this modern-day cohort of patients with RA, we found a prevalence of lower extremity ulcers of 4.37% over 3 years. Only 31.25% of patients healed after a mean 22.8 months of follow-up. However, treatment with a biologic agent was associated with a significant increased likelihood of healing (RR 3.27, 95% CI 0.59–18.29, p=0.039).
Anti-tumor necrosis factor-α; Disease modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD); Leg ulcer; Rheumatoid arthritis; Vasculitis; Wound healing
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic fibrosing disease characterized by vasculopathy, autoimmunity, and an accumulation of collagen in tissues. Numerous studies have shown that compared to healthy or diseased controls, the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with SSc produce a variety of cytokines or proliferate when cultured with solubilized type I collagen (CI) or constituent α1(II) and α2(I) polypeptide chains. The purpose of this study was to determine whether PBMC isolated from patients with SSc and cultured in vitro with soluble CI elaborated soluble mediators that inhibit the production of collagenase (i.e., matrix metalloproteinase, MMP-1) by fibroblasts. Supernatants of CI-stimulated PBMC from juvenile and adult diffuse cutaneous (dc)SSc patients significantly reduced MMP-1 production by SSc dermal fibroblasts, while supernatants of CI-stimulated PBMC from patients with localized scleroderma (LS) did not. CI-stimulated PBMC culture supernatants from patients with dcSSc in contrast to patients with LS exhibited increased levels of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-AA, PDGF-BB, TNF-α, IL-13, and EGF. Prolonged culture of SSc dermal fibroblasts with recombinant PDGF-BB or IL-13 inhibited the induction of MMP-1 in response to subsequent TNF-α stimulation. These data suggest that therapies aimed at reducing these cytokines may decrease collagen accumulation in SSc, preventing the development of chronic fibrosis.
IL-13; Diffuse; Localized scleroderma; MMP-1; PBMC; PDGF-BB; Scleroderma
Patients in England and Wales with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) receive treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) with therapies approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), under guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). This document overviews the current NICE guidelines for the treatment of RA and identifies scenarios when such guidance may not represent the optimum management strategy for individual patients. Specifically, we consider the use of tocilizumab or abatacept as the most appropriate treatments for some patients. In such scenarios, it may be possible for the clinician to secure access to the required therapy through an application procedure known as an ‘individual funding request’, the process of which is described in detail here. At present, it is unclear the extent to which the proposed reform of the NHS will affect the role of NICE in providing guidance and setting standards of care. Until the full impact of the proposed changes are realized, individual funding requests will remain a valuable way of securing the optimal treatment for all patients suffering from RA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10067-011-1936-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Abatacept; Individual funding request; National Health Service; National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; Rheumatoid arthritis; Tocilizumab
The distressed personality type (“type D personality”) has been shown to be associated with low quality of life and higher morbidity and mortality in various patient groups. Because the role of type D personality is unknown in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the aim of the present study was to investigate the association of type D personality with aspects of quality of life and disease activity in RA patients. In addition, a potential buffering effect by accepting mindfulness was examined. Participants were 147 patients between 22 and 87 years of age. Patients completed relevant questionnaires at home and the disease activity score was determined. After controlling for potentially confounding variables, multivariate analyses of covariance showed an association of type D personality with a lower satisfaction with life (p < 0.001) and a lower psychological well-being (p < 0.001), but not disease activity in RA patients. Although mindfulness was associated with a higher satisfaction with life (p = 0.02) and positive mood (p = 0.01), it did not diminish the unfavourable associations between type D and well-being. In conclusion, although type D personality is related with lower well-being, it does not seem to be associated with disability or disease activity in RA patients.
Disease activity; Distressed (type D) personality; Mindfulness; Quality of life; Rheumatoid arthritis; Well-being
Studies on the effectiveness of information provision for patients with arthritis through the Internet are scarce. This study aimed to describe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients’ knowledge and information needs before and after launching a website providing information on regional health care services for patients with rheumatic conditions. The intervention consisted of a weekly updated website comprising practical information on regional health care services for patients with arthritis. In addition, patients were offered information leaflets and an information meeting. Before (T1) and 24 months after (T2) the website was launched, a random sample of 400 RA patients filled in a questionnaire regarding knowledge and information need (scores 0–18) about accessibility and contents of 18 regional health care services. Two hundred and fifty-one patients returned the questionnaire (response rate 63%) at T1 and 200 patients (50%) at T2, respectively, with 160 paired observations (112 females (70%), mean age 60.4 years (SD 9.9)). The total score for insufficient knowledge about contents decreased from 9.3 (SD 4.9) to 8.5 (SD 4.8; p = 0.03) and for accessibility from 8.6 (SD 4.7) to 8.4 (SD 4.9; p = 0.59). Total score for information need about contents decreased from 4.2 (SD 4.5) to 1.9 (SD 2.9; p < 0.01) and for accessibility from 3.6 (SD 4.5) to 1.4 (SD 2.4; p < 0.01) (paired t-tests).
After the administration of a website comprising practical health care information, RA patients’ information need and to a lesser extent their perception of having insufficient knowledge on relevant regional health care services decreased significantly. The results of this descriptive study suggest that the use of the Internet to inform patients may be effective, although controlled studies are required to evaluate and optimize web-delivered information.
Consumer health information; Health care services; Health services accessibility; Information need; Internet; Rheumatoid arthritis
Previous cadaveric studies have suggested that forefoot deformities at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) might result from the failure of the ligamentous system and displacement of the plantar plates. This study aimed to examine the relationship between plantar plate pathology and the rheumatoid arthritis magnetic resonance imaging score (RAMRIS) of the lesser (second to fifth) MTP joints in patients with RA using high-resolution 3 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In 24 patients with RA, the forefoot was imaged using 3 T MRI. Proton density fat-suppressed, T2-weighted fat-suppressed and T1-weighted post gadolinium sequences were acquired through 96 lesser MTP joints. Images were scored for synovitis, bone marrow oedema and bone erosion using the RAMRIS system and the plantar plates were assessed for pathology. Seventeen females and 7 males with a mean age of 55.5 years (range 37–71) and disease duration of 10.6 years (range 0.6–36) took part in the study. Plantar plate pathology was most frequently demonstrated on MRI at the fifth MTP joint. An association was demonstrated between plantar plate pathology and RAMRIS-reported synovitis, bone marrow oedema and bone erosion at the fourth and fifth MTP joints. In patients with RA, 3 T MRI demonstrates that plantar plate pathology at the lesser MTP joints is associated with features of disease severity. Plantar plate pathology is more common at the fourth and fifth MTP joints in subjects with RA in contrast to the predilection for the second MTP reported previously in subjects without RA.
Forefoot; Magnetic resonance imaging; Metatarsophalangeal joint; Plantar plate; RAMRIS; Rheumatoid arthritis
Gouty arthritis is an inflammatory condition associated with debilitating clinical symptoms, functional impairments, and a substantial impact on quality of life. This condition is initially triggered by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals into the joint space. This causes an inflammatory cascade resulting in the secretion of several proinflammatory cytokines and neutrophil recruitment into the joint. While generally effective, currently available agents are associated with a number of adverse events and contraindications that complicate their use. Based on our increased understanding of the inflammatory pathogenesis of gouty arthritis, several new agents are under development that may provide increased efficacy and reduced toxicity.
Chronic diseases; Gouty arthritis; Inflammation; Pathophysiology
Despite the proven health benefits, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are found to be less physically active than their healthy peers. The aim of this study was to examine to what extent and how physical activity, defined as any bodily movement resulting in energy expenditure, is currently promoted by health care providers in patients with RA and how they perceive their competencies and educational needs. For this cross-sectional study, Dutch rheumatologists, rheumatology clinical nurse specialists, and expert physical therapists were sent a postal survey including four domains: attitudes towards physical activity in RA, advices given to patients with RA, and perceived competencies and educational needs. A total of 126 rheumatologists (50%), 132 clinical nurse specialists (56%), and 112 physical therapists (53%) returned the questionnaire. More than 90% agreed that physical activity is an important health goal for RA patients and regularly advised their patients to engage in physical activity. Public health recommendations for moderate-intensity physical activity were found attainable in RA patients by 66%, 74%, and 65% and were by used by 19%, 41%, and 49% of them, respectively. On average, respondents rated their competency to promote physical activity as low to medium, and 54%, 85%, and 72% of the respondents expressed a need for additional education regarding this topic. Rheumatologists, nurses, and physical therapists considered regular physical activity to be an important health goal for RA patients. The majority of them commonly gave advice on physical activity but felt not sufficiently competent and indicated a need for additional education.
Health professionals; Health promotion; Physical activity; Rheumatoid arthritis; Rheumatologists
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is complicated by pulmonary hypertension and right ventricle (RV) failure in approximately 10% of the patients. Factors influencing the reactivity of pulmonary circulation to vasodilators are not established, while the examination of vasoreactivity is important in determining the treatment, because systemic administration of oral vasodilators can induce severe adverse events in nonresponders. The mechanism of RV failure in SSc is unclear and may result either from increased RV afterload or intrinsic myocardial disease. The aim of the study was to assess the reactivity of pulmonary circulation to inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) and to evaluate its influence on RV function in SSc patients with elevated right ventricle systolic pressure (RVSP). In 60 SSc patients aged 24–73 (58 females, two males; 33 patients with limited SSc and 27 with diffuse SSc), echocardiographic examination with tissue Doppler echocardiography (TDE) was performed. RV function was measured by systolic (S) and early diastolic (E) velocity of tricuspid annulus by TDE. In patients with RVSP >45 mmHg, the reactivity of pulmonary circulation was assessed by iNO test. High-resolution computerized tomography (HRCT) was performed to assess the extent of pulmonary fibrosis. Of 14 SSc subjects with elevated RVSP (13 females, one male; RVSP 47–62 mmHg), positive reaction to iNO was observed in five (RVSP decreased from 51.6 ± 3.7 to 32.24 ± 2.3 mmHg); nine patients were not reactive (RVSP 53.5 ± 5.7 mmHg before iNO vs. 49.6 ± 6.7 mmHg). RV systolic function was decreased in patients with elevated RVSP as compared to the patients with normal pulmonary pressure (S velocity 13.2 ± 1.3 vs. 14.4 ± 1.6 cm/s, respectively, p < 0.05). Significant increase of RV systolic function during iNO test was found in reactive patients only (S velocity before iNO 12.8 ± 1.2 cm/s, during iNO 14.5 ± 1.5 cm/s, p < 0.01). RVSP decrease strongly correlated with S velocity increase (r = 0.95, p < 0.0001). Response to iNO was found only in limited form of SSc; diffuse SSc patients showed no response. Pulmonary fibrosis on HRCT was more frequent in subjects nonreactive to iNO (67% of patients) than in the reactive group (40% of patients). The reactivity of pulmonary circulation to iNO in SSc patients with elevated RVSP was found predominantly in limited form of the disease. Pulmonary fibrosis typical for diffuse SSc was more frequent in nonreactive subjects. Elevated pulmonary pressure plays an important role in RV systolic dysfunction. Pulmonary pressure decrease during iNO test leads to the improvement of RV systolic function. Therapy for right-heart failure in reactive SSc patients should be directed, if possible, at the decrease in pulmonary resistance.
Heart failure; Pulmonary circulation; Right ventricle; Systemic sclerosis