Background Spondyloarthritis (SA) is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting young and active patients and often affects their work productivity.
Objectives To describe professional characteristics of Tunisian patients affected by SA and to determine work conditions that may expose to work productivity impairment.
Methods We performed a cross-sectional monocentric study of 99 patients with SA recruited during 1 year at the Department of Rheumatology. Disease parameters and professional characteristics were recorded. Patients were asked if they have missed work time during the last three months because of their disease. For statistical analysis, we used Khi2 -test, a p value ≤0.05 was considered significant.
Results Eighty-three man and 16 women were included. Among these patients 65.6% were eligible to a professional activity (aged between 18 and 65 years and having ended their studies or vocational training). Their average age was 40.02 years ±11.7. Disease mean duration was 11.85±10.29 years. Mean BASFI score was 40.3% and mean BASDAI score was 42.3%.
Manual labor has been noted in 55.4% and a hard physical work in 23.1%. Concerning the conditions of work, prolonged sitting was adopted in 44.6%; bad posture was adopted in 36.9% and 23.1% of cases were carrying heavy loads. Manipulation of vibrant engine was noted in 9.2% and work in cold environment in 32.3%. The mean number of working hours per day was 5.57±4 h and the mean day rest duration was 39min. Almost one third of patients (32.8%) accused having a stressful work and, while 29.2% judged that the day rest duration was insufficient. The mean distance between the place of work and home was of 4.7 km ±9.12 crossed at mean in 17 min using a means of transportation.
Twenty-three percent of employees missed work time during the last three months because of their health condition. Statistical analysis showed that factors significantly associated with absenteeism were: high number of working hours (p=0.037), bad posture (0.001), stress at work (0.035) and insufficient day rest duration (0.007). Carrying heavy loads was more frequent in patients on sick leave but not statistically significant (p=0.076). Risk of absenteeism was independent of SA activity scores.
Conclusions Absenteeism is frequent in SA Tunisian patients and it is essentially related to work conditions. High number of working hours, insufficient day rest duration, stress at work and bad postures are its predicting factors.
Disclosure of Interest None declared