Table 1

Patient and symptom characteristics (n=102)

Women, n (%)74 (72.5)
Age in years, mean (SD)43.3 (13.3)
Family history of RA, n (%)50 (66 (32.4)
Symptom duration
 In weeks, median (IQR)15.1 (8.9–26.4)
12 weeks, n (%)36 (36.7)
Symptom onset
 Gradual (>1 week, either continuous or waxing and waning), n (%)80 (78.4)
 Subacute (<1 week), n (%)21 (20.8)
Character of initial symptoms*†
 Pain, n (%)95 (93.1)
 Stiffness, n (%)70 (68.6)
 Functional disability, n (%)28 (27.5)
Localisation of initial symptoms*
 Small joints, n (%)81 (79.4)
 Small and large joints, n (%)15 (14.7)
 Large joints, n (%)6 (5.9)
Localisation of initial symptoms*
 Upper extremities, n (%)68 (66.7)
 Upper and lower extremities, n (%)24 (23.5)
 Lower extremities, n (%)9 (8.8)
Localisation of initial symptoms*
 Symmetrical, n (%)73 (71.6)
 Asymmetrical, n (%)29 (28.4)
Presence of inflammatory character joint pain‡§, n (%)78 (76.5)
Presence of morning stiffness ≥60 minutes‡, n (%)44 (43.1)
Presence of fatigue‡, n (%)27 (26.5)
HAQ median (IQR)0.56 (0.25–0.88)
Daily use of NSAIDs, n (%)20 (19.6)
BMI in kg/m2 median (IQR)25.1 (22.8–29.6)
68-TJC median (IQR)6 (3–11)
Current smoker, n (%)21 (20.6)
Current alcohol user¶, n (%)66 (66.7)
Autoantibody status
 ACPA- and/or IgM-RF-positive, n (%)29 (28.4)
 Only ACPA-positive (>7 U/mL), n (%)4 (3.9)
 Only IgM-RF-positive (>3.5 IU/mL), n (%)14 (13.7)
 ACPA- and IgM-RF-positive, n (%)11 (10.8)
Increased CRP (>10 mg/L), n (%)14 (13.7)
Increased ESR (reference for age), n (%)13 (12.7)
  • Symptoms were noted by rheumatologists as reported by the patients. Data on symptom duration and BMI were missing in four patients; symptom onset, intermittent symptoms present and initial localisation (upper, upper and lower, lower, symmetrical, asymmetrical) were missing in one patient; 68-TJC was missing in three patients; alcohol use was missing in three patients; and HAQ was missing in 24 patients.

  • *Initial symptoms refer to the first symptoms.

  • †A patient can have more than one character of the initial symptoms.

  • ‡The presence of symptoms refers to the presence of these symptoms at the baseline visit.

  • §Defined as joint pain that is worst in the early morning and improves with movement during the day.

  • ¶Patients not consuming daily alcohol but only one or few beverages a week were considered as alcohol users.

  • ACPA, anti-citrullinated peptide antibody; BMI, body mass index; CRP, C-reactive protein; ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate; HAQ, Health Assessment Questionnaire; IgM-RF, immunoglobulin M rheumatoid factor; NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; TJC, tender joint count.