Content » Vol 37, Issue 3

Recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis: A 1-year observational study of correlations between health‐related quality of life and clinical/laboratory data

Ingrid Thyberg A1, A2, Thomas Skogh A1, A3, Ursula A. M. Hass A4, Björn Gerdle A5, A6
A1 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine/AIR, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University
A2 The Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Linköping and Örebro Universities
A3 Department of Clinical Medicine, Örebro University, Örebro
A4 Centre for Medical Technology Assessment, Department of Health and Society, Linköping University
A5 Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University
A6 Pain and Rehabilitation Centre, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden

DOI: 10.1080/16501970410023344


Objective: To analyse correlations within and between clinical/laboratory assessments and health-related quality of life variables for recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis at the time of diagnosis and 12 months later. Methods: A total of 297 patients with recent-onset (?12 months) rheumatoid arthritis were included at diagnosis and followed up for 12 months. Clinical/laboratory assessment was performed by erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, 28-joint count of tender/swollen joints, physician's global assessment, grip force, grip ability, functional impairment and walking speed. The self-reported health-related quality of life included symptoms (pain, morning stiffness), patients estimated general health, Health Assessment Questionnaire and SF-36. Results: All tested variables improved within 6 months of diagnosis and then remained stable but still affected at the 12-month follow-up. Multivariate correlations between clinical/laboratory variables and health-related quality of life were weak. At inclusion, clinical/laboratory assessments explained 18% of health-related quality of life at the same time-point and predicted 7% of the variation in health-related quality of life after 12 months. Conclusion: The time-course followed similar patterns for most variables, but only a small part of the variation in health-related quality of life was explained or predicted by the clinical/laboratory variables. This implies that health-related quality of life adds important information to clinical/laboratory assessments in clinical practice and should be considered in goal setting together with clinical/laboratory assessment in order to optimize healthcare and outcome.

Lay Abstract


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