Table 1

Baseline characteristics 113 early arthritis patients

All patients (n=113)2010 RA patients (n=53)
Age, mean±SD, years54.9±15.755.4±15.5
Female sex, n (%)62 (54.9)32 (60.4)
Symptom duration at inclusion, median (IQR), weeks15 (7–32.5)16.5 (8.8–33.3)
Onset of symptoms, n (%)
 (sub) acute47 (43.1)20 (38.5)
 gradual61 (56.0)32 (61.5)
Morning stiffness, median (IQR), minutes45 (15–82.5)52.5 (15–112.5)
Swollen joint count, median (IQR)4 (2–7)5 (3–10)
Tender joint count, median (IQR)7 (3–11.5)8 (4–15.5)
ACPA positivity, n (%)40 (35.4)35 (66.0)
RF positivity, n (%)44 (38.9)35 (66.0)
CRP level, median (IQR)6 (3–17.5)10 (3–19)
ESR level, median (IQR)19 (6–34)28 (9–41)
Patient classification at baseline, n (%)
 RA (2010 ACR/EULAR criteria)53 (46.9)
 Unclassified arthritis (UA)37 (32.7)
 Psoriatic arthritis11 (9.7)
 Inflammatory osteoarthritis4 (3.5)
 Spondyloarthritis3 (2.7)
 Other diagnoses5 (4.4)
Treatment within the first year, n (%)*
 Methotrexate48 (42.5)26 (49.1)
 Hydroxychloroquine26 (23.0)19 (35.8)
 Prednisolon orally17 (15.0)13 (24.5)
 Sulfasalazine13 (11.5)11 (20.8)
 Trial medication†8 (7.1)7 (13.2)
 Anti-TNF‡2 (1.8)2 (3.4)
 Leflunomide2 (1.8)1 (1.9)
 Azathioprine1 (0.9)1 (1.9)
 No DMARD26 (23)4 (7.5)
MRI BME, median (IQR)5.5 (2.5–11.8)6.5 (3.3–15.8)
MRI Synovitis, median (IQR)4.5 (2.5–7.5)5.0 (2.3–8.0)
MRI Tenosynovitis, median (IQR)2.8 (0.5–5.5)3.5 (0.6–5.5)
MRI Any inflammation, median (IQR)13.0 (7.6–25.5)16.8 (8.5–30.1)
SHS, median (IQR)2.0 (0.0–6.0)2.0 (0.0–4.0)
  • At patient level, medians (IQR) are shown and missing scores were imputed with the median of non-missing MRI scores of the same feature of the patient. The 66 swollen joint count and 68 tender joint count was assessed.

  • *The total exceeds100%, as some patients used several DMARDs in the first year.

  • †Trial medication refers to a double-blind, randomised trial in which patients received tocilizumab and/or methotrexate.

  • ‡One patient received anti-TNF early in the disease in the IMPROVED trial, and the other patient failed methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine, and then received anti-TNF after 353 days.

  • ACPA, anti-citrullinated-peptide antibodies; DMARD, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs; TNF, tumour necrosis factor; BME, bone marrow oedema; ACR, American College of Rheumatology; EULAR, The European League Against Rheumatism; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; RF, rheumatoid factor; CRP, C-reactive protein; ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate.