Background There are no studies reporting the effect of immigrant status and socioeconomic status on outcome in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Sweden.
Objectives We wanted to study the effect of immigration and socioeconomic class on outcome in RA in Sweden.
Methods Between 1992 and 2005, 2,800 adult patients were included in the BARFOT early RA study in Sweden. Disease Activity Score 28 joints (DAS28), Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), drug treatment and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria were applied up to 8 years. The patients completed in 2010 a questionnaire enquiring about demographics and lifestyle factors
Results A total of 139/1430 (9.5%) of the patients were immigrants. Immigrants had higher baseline mean HAQ (immigrants 1.2 vs. non-immigrants 0.97, p=0.001), DAS28 (5.6 vs. 5.2, p=0.0001), visual analog scale (VAS) pain (56 mm vs. 45 mm, p=0.0001), VAS global health (53 mm vs. 44 mm, p=0.0001) and tender joint count (TJC) (10 vs. 8, p=0.0001), these differences persisting up to 2 years of follow-up and for HAQ up to 8 years of follow-up. Immigrant status did not have effect on swollen joint count (SJC), ESR, CRP or EULAR response. Socioeconomic class did not have impact on treatment or outcome.
Conclusions Immigrants scored worse in pain, function and TJC up to 2 years of follow-up, but did not differ in objective measures of inflammation or EULAR outcome as compared to non-immigrants. This could be due to different perceptions of health and pain and/or the stress of immigration. Socioeconomic class did not have impact on treatment or outcome and this could be due to the relatively egalitarian society in Sweden.
Disclosure of Interest M. Söderlin Consultant for: Pfizer, Speakers bureau: Abbott, MSD, BMS, Pfizer, S. Bergman: None Declared, M. Andersson: None Declared
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