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Inflammation in an individual joint predicts damage to that joint in psoriatic arthritis

Abstract

Objective The authors have previously reported on the relationship between activity and subsequent damage at the patient level for patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). The aim of this study was to identify key predictors of damage to individual joints in the hands and feet of patients with PsA, in particular those that capture previous activity.

Methods Data from patients followed prospectively at the University of Toronto PsA clinic between 1978 and 2006 were available for analysis. Logistic regression was used to relate the probability of a joint developing damage, within a specified time interval after the most recent clinic visit, to potential predictor variables. The predictor variables considered encompassed the history of disease activity of the joint and elsewhere, previous damage and the timing of clinical assessments.

Results 511 patients with no hand damage at clinic entry and 552 patients with no foot damage at clinic entry were included in the analysis of the hand and foot joints, respectively. The analysis of the hand and foot joints demonstrated that the activity (tenderness and/or swelling) history of the specific joint is associated with subsequent damage. For the joints of the feet, activity observations elsewhere in the same foot, and in particular the same toe, were also shown to be associated with subsequent damage.

Conclusions Both joint tenderness and swelling are important predictors of joint damage in PsA.

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