Objectives To assess the relationship between the clinical variables and the functional disability of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a Turkish population and to determine whether simple self-reporting questionnaires provide information as accurate as traditional measurements of RA.
Methods Subjects with rheumatoid arthritis according to ACR criteria were recruited consecutively. Clinical and radiological parameters were correlated with Turkish versions of the disability scales (HAQ, AIMS and Duruöz?s Hand Index-DHI) to obtain the relationship between disease activity and the functional disability status of each patient. Pearson?s correlation coefficient and Student?s t test were used to assess the relationship between two quantitative variables and two groups (early and established RA), respectively. p < 0.05 was accepted as significant.
Results Fifty patients (40 women) with a mean age of 47.7 (SD: 11.1) completed the study. The HAQ and DHI were best correlated with clinical activity parameters of RA, such as the Ritchie articular index (RAI), pain (VAS) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Radiological scores were best correlated with disease duration. Sex and rheumatoid factor were not significantly correlated with DHI, whereas RF was correlated with functional disability assessed by HAQ. The psychological scales of AIMS correlated well with RAI and swollen joint counts. We found no association between the mean disease duration and scores of functional status. Disability was slightly but not significantly higher in sero (+) than in sero (-) patients. The functional disability scores in patients with long and short disease duration were not significantly different.
Conclusion Self-reporting functional disability questionnaires can provide accurate information about clinical and functional status in a cost-effective way for Turkish RA patients, as for those in other countries.
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