Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2021 May 5. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To analyse rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-patients depending on their individual peak radiographic progression.
METHODS: We selected for the individual peak radiographic progression (Δ Ratingen scores/time) in patients of the Swiss registry SCQM. The baseline disease characteristics were compared using standard descriptive statistics. The change of DAS 28 (disease activity sore) and HAQ-DI (Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index) before and after peak progression was analysed with Wilcoxon signed rank tests.
RESULTS: Of the 4,033 patients in the analysis, 3,049 patients had a peak radiographic progression rate between 0 and ≤10 in the Ratingen score per year, 773 between 10 and ≤20, 150 between 20 and ≤30, and 61 of >30 (defining groups A-D). Rheumatoid factor was more frequent in patient groups with a higher peak radiographic progression (71.1%, 79.2%, 85.3%, 88.5%, groups A-D). Peak radiographic progression at a rate >20/year (groups C-D) was not detected after December 2012. When the rate of radiographic progression before and after peak progression was analysed, it was significantly lower. The DAS 28 was significantly higher in all patient groups before peak progression and lower thereafter (p<0.001). Average HAQ-DI scores increased after peak radiographic progression in group D (p=0.005) whereas it was stable or even decreased among the patients of the other patient groups.
CONCLUSIONS: These data show that the highest radiographic progression rates are rare and get less frequent over the last years. Higher disease activity precedes radiographic peak progression. Only the highest individual peak (change of Ratingen score >30/year) radiographic progression was followed by an increase of HAQ-DI scores.