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Level of agreement of the 1987 ACR and 2010 ACR/EULAR rheumatoid arthritis classification criteria: an analysis based on ESPOIR cohort data
  1. B Fautrel1,
  2. B Combe2,
  3. N Rincheval3,
  4. M Dougados4 for the ESPOIR Scientific Committee
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Sorbonne Universités, AP-HP (Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris), Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
  2. 2Federation of Immuno-Rheumatology, Université Montpellier 1, CHU de Montpellier, Lapeyronie Hospital, Montpellier, France
  3. 3Université Montpellier 1, CHU de Montpellier, IURC (Institut Universitaire de Recherche Clinique), ESPOIR Coordination Center, Lapeyronie Hospital, Montpellier, France
  4. 4Department of Rheumatology, Université Paris Descartes – Sorbonne Paris Cité, AP-HP (Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris), Cochin Hospital, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Bruno Fautrel, Department of Rheumatology, Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris VI University/AP-HP, Rheumatology, Paris, France; bruno.fautrel{at}


Background In 2010, new classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were developed.

Objective To assess agreement between 1987 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and 2010 ACR/European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria and the potential source of discordance, based on ESPOIR cohort data.

Methods 813 early arthritis patients were included in ESPOIR between 2002 and 2005. Between-criteria agreement was based on the κ coefficient. Discordance was explored by logistic regression.

Results Data for 811 patients were available, with their main characteristics as follows: women 77%, swollen joint count 7.2, tender joint count 8.4, disease activity score in 28 joints 5.2, rheumatoid factor 46%, anticitrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) 39%, structural damage 22%. At baseline, 579 (71.4%) patients met the 1987 ACR criteria and 641 (79.0%) the 2010 criteria. Agreement at baseline was discordant for 168 patients: 115 satisfied the 2010 criteria and 53 the 1987 criteria. Concordance between the two sets was fair, with a κ coefficient of 0.45 and 0.42 at baseline and year 2, respectively. The main sources of discordance were the number and symmetry of joint involvement, as well as ACPA status.

Conclusion 2010 ACR/EULAR criteria identified more patients with RA than did 1987 criteria. The 2010 criteria failed to identify RA patients with symmetrical seronegative arthritis and limited joint involvement.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was obtained from Montpellier University Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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