Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Axial spondyloarthritis
  1. Victoria Navarro-Compán1,
  2. Alexandre Sepriano2,
  3. Bassel El-Zorkany3,
  4. Désirée van der Heijde4
  1. 1 Department of Rheumatology, La Paz University Hospital, IdiPaz, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2 Department of Rheumatology, NOVA Medical School, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  3. 3 Department of Rheumatology, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
  4. 4 Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Professor Désirée van der Heijde, Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands; mail{at}


Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) encompasses both radiographic and non-radiographic axSpA. It is a chronic inflammatory disease with a predilection for involving the axial skeleton. The most common presenting symptoms are chronic back pain and spinal stiffness but peripheral and extra-musculoskeletal manifestations occur also frequently. The diagnosis of axSpA relies on the recognition of a clinical pattern of the disease, based on clinical, laboratory and imaging features. The Assessment in SpondyloArthritis international Society classification criteria for axSpA are valid and well implemented for research purposes. Sustained disease activity, measured by validated tools such as the Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score, leads to irreversible structural damage and poor functioning and therefore should be abrogated. As part of the management algorithm, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs remain as the first line of pharmacological treatment besides physiotherapy. As a second line, tumour necrosis factor inhibitor and interleukin-17 inhibitor are available but recently Janus kinase inhibitors have also shown efficacy in improving symptoms of the disease.

  • spondylitis
  • ankylosing
  • epidemiology
  • outcome assessment
  • health care

Statistics from


  • VN-C and AS are joint first authors.

  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors All authors were involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content. All authors reviewed the published evidence and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests VN-C has received research grants/honoraria from AbbVie, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and UCB. AS has received consulting/speaking fees from MSD, UCB, Novartis. BE-Z has received consultancy, research grants and speaker's honoraria from: AbbVie, Amgen, BMS, Eva, Hekma, Janssen, Lilly, MSD, New Bridge, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi‐Aventis and Servier. DvdH reports personal fees from AbbVie, Amgen, Astellas, AstraZeneca, BMS, Boehringer ingelheim, Celgene, Cyxone, Daiichi, Eisai, Eli lilly, Galapagos, Gilead, GlaxosmithKline, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Roche, Sanofi, Takeda and UCB Pharma, and is Director of imaging Rheumatology BV.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.