Background It is commonly recognised that outcome measures in rheumatoid arthritis depend on the duration of disease and especially disability index reveals that link while the others demonstrate minor changes in the course of disease.
Objectives To test the latter hypotheses we performed the study which aimed to measure long-term outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis in 225 patients – Vilnius city inhabitants.
Methods The patients were asked to fill in the self-administered questioners as follows: Stanford HAQ (0–3,3 worth health), AIMS(1–6, 6 worth), SF-36 (0–100, 0 worth health). The entire cohort was subdivided into three groups depending on the disease duration. The first cohort with the short disease less than 5 years encountered 70 patients, second cohort between 5 to 10 years of disease duration encountered 56 patients and 99 patients with long standing disease more than 10 years duration consisted the third cohort. The differences between means (SD) of the variables were measured by F-ratio and qualified as significant if p < 0.05.
Results The significant differences between the cohorts were found in disability indices measured by health assessment questioner: 1,21(0,75), 1,17(0,69) and 1,45(0,83) respectively with F-ratio higher than critical value (p = 0,048). Aims depression and anxiety measures were not significantly different between the cohorts, the same as quality of life indices measured by SF-36. The study was found to be powerful enough -0,7- to reveal the possible differences.
Conclusion The only differences between disease duration cohorts were revealed in measuring disability indices which tended to grow with increasing disease duration while the other measures were not sensitive to change. This large enough study showed that psychological distress and quality of life measures do not depend on disease duration and the disease impact is particularly visible on disease indices.
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