Background In Bone and Joint Decade comparative studies between countries could contribute to better understanding of disease burden of rheumatic diseases.
Objectives To compare disease and health status measures in RA patient cohorts from Vilnius, Lithuania and Oslo, Norway.
Methods For 201 patients from Vilnius RA register, matched cases according to age (mean 55.9 (SD1.0)) and gender (167 female) were identified in Oslo RA register. Study variables included sociodemographic characteristics, health status measures (MHAQ, SF-36, pain VAS), disease process measures (disease activity score (DAS-28)), ESR) and previous/current treatment.
Results Most disease activity and health status measures were worse in Vilnius patients (Table 1). Rheumatoid factor positivity was observed in 61 vs.49% (p = 0.03) in Vilnius and Oslo, respectively. Methotrexate was currently or previously used by 36 vs.49% (p = 0.05) and azatioprine by 29 vs.13% (p = 0.000) in Vilnius and Oslo. For other DMARDS, including corticosteroids no important differences were observed.
Conclusion In this two-country comparison RA patients from Lithuania had generally worse health status and higher disease activity. This difference could represent geographic differences in disease severity or unequal access to rheumatology care.
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