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The epidemiological data of a cohort of patients with early arthritis
Objectives. The aim of this study is to describe the epidemiologic characteristics of a cohort of patients with early arthritis and to identify the particularities that may help to identify the patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (ERA) from this cohort.
Methods. 73 patients with ERA or early undifferentiated arthritis (EUA) were enrolled. Patients were recruited from those who presented in the “Early Arthritis Research Center” of “Dr. I. Cantacuzino” Hospital with inflammatory arthritis of one or more joints, lasting for at most 12 months.
Results. 73 patients were included in this study, 44 females (60.3%) and 29 males (39.7%). 47 patients (64.3%) fulfilled the 2010 EULAR/ACR criteria for RA. The mean age of patients enrolled in the study was 49.81±15.93 years. The mean symptom duration was 3.39±3.42 months. The predominant form of presentation was polyarticular. While the values of acute phase reactants are comparable between groups and the differences are not significant (p>0.05 – Mann-Whitney test), in case of immunologic markers there is a difference represented by significantly higher values in the group with ERA (p<0.001). The NTJ and NSJ is significantly higher in patients with ERA (p<0.001). The values of VASd are significantly higher than that of VASp (p<0.001). CDAI and SDAI identified more patients with high disease activity than DAS28.
Conclusion. It was observed that there is a high degree of variation between results reported in different studies performed on cohorts of patients with early arthritis and we believe it is important to know the particularities of patients treated by one to improve clinical practice. The patients with ERA tended to have higher values of the parameters evaluated than the patients with EUA.
Keywords: early arthritis, „window of opportunity“