Objectives The purpose of this cross-sectional study is to compare the demographic and clinical characteristics of postmenopausal women with longstanding rheumatoid arthritis (RA) between general rheumatology clinics in three European countries.
Methods A total of 150 female patients with RA (50 per centre), aged between 50 and 70 years and a disease duration of 5 or more years attending a general rheumatology clinic, were consecutively included as part of the OSTRA study. Demographic and clinical data were collected according to standardised procedures. Hand X-rays (Larsen) were read by one observer. Mean ± SD are presented in case of normal distribution; median (range) in skewed data. Groups were compared by means of ANOVA. Kruskal-Wallis or Chi square test were performed when appropriate.
Results Mean age (61 ± 6 years), disease duration (14(5–53) years), and rheumatoid factor status (63% positive) were similar in the three centres. BMI (kg/m2) values 23.0 ± 2.9 in Oslo, 25.7 ± 3.8 in Amsterdam and 27.7 ± 6.0 in Truro respectively, differed between the 3 centres (p = 0.000ab). Visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain (MM) differed between the 3 countries (p = 0.02c).
Post hoc test difference aOslo-Truro, bOslo-Amsterdam, cTruro-Amsterdam.
Conclusion These comparisons may reflect different lifestyle and treatment strategies in the different countries with consequent different outcome.
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