Objective To investigate the long-term clinical and radiographic disease course of hand osteoarthritis (OA) and determinants of outcome.
Methods Clinical and radiographic measures were obtained at baseline and after 6 years in 289 patients with hand OA (mean age 59.5 years, 83.0% women). Clinical outcomes were self-reported pain and functional limitations assessed with the Australian/Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index (AUSCAN). Poor clinical outcome was defined as a follow-up score not fulfilling the Patient Acceptable Symptom State. Radiographic outcome was assessed by osteophytes and joint space narrowing (JSN) on standardised hand radiographs using the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) atlas. Radiographic progression was defined as a change in osteophytes or JSN, above the smallest detectable change. Change in outcome measures was calculated and baseline determinants for poor clinical outcome and radiographic progression were assessed using logistic regression analysis.
Results Clinical change showed great variation, with half of the population reporting deterioration. Poor outcome in pain was related to high levels of functional limitations and a high number of painful joints at baseline. Poor outcome on functional limitations was related to high baseline pain levels. Radiographic progression was present in 52.5% of patients and associated with high baseline levels of pain, nodes, osteophytes and the presence of erosive OA and nodal OA. Clinical change and radiographic progression were not related.
Conclusions This study gives insight in the clinical and radiographic course of hand OA as well as determinants of outcome. These findings enable better patient information on prognosis. The relationship between clinical and radiographic outcome needs further investigation.
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Funding The GARP study was financially supported by the Dutch Arthritis Association (project number 06-1-304) and Pfizer (Groton, Connecticut, USA). The sponsors did not contribute to study design, data collection, data analysis and writing of the manuscript. Publication was not contingent on the approval of the sponsors.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Leiden University Medical Center.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.