Patients with early arthritis (EA) and early inflammatory back pain (IBP) have similar changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL), but not all of it is explained by disease activity, according to results published in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

The study included participants from 2 prospective observational French cohorts, 1 of EA participants and 1 of early IBP participants. Over the course of 5 to 8 years, participants’ HRQoL was regularly assessed, using the 36-Item Short Form Survey physical and mental composite scores (PCS and MCS, range 0-100). The researchers used the 28-joint Disease Activity Score based on erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR) and Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score-C-reactive protein (ASDAS-CRP) to assess disease activity.

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A total of 1347 participants were analyzed, including 701 with EA and 646 with early IBP. The mean age was 48.4±12.2 years for EA and 33.9±8.7 for IBP; mean disease duration was 3.4±1.7 months and 18.2±10.8 months, respectively.

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At baseline, participants with EA had mean PCS of 40.2±9.1 and a mean MCS of 40.4±11.2. Among participants with early IBP, mean PCS was 38.5±8.5 and mean MCS was 39.8±10.9.

During follow-up, the researchers found that mean HRQoL levels increased mostly during the first 6 months (P <.001). They noted 2 distinct trajectories in both groups, with 1 trajectory corresponding closely to HRQoL in the general population (trajectory A) and the other with a more altered HRQoL (trajectory B).

Among participants with EA, from 57.2% to 60.8% were in trajectory A compared with 54.2% to 58.4% of those with EA.

The results indicated that DAS28-ESR and ASDAS-CRP over time were linked to PCS (range of explained variance, 9%-43%; P <.001), but not to MCS.

“The drivers of HRQoL in inflammatory rheumatic disorders and specifically the links with disease activity should be further explored,” the researchers wrote.


Puyraimond-Zemmour D, Granger B, Molto A, et al. Similar alteration for mental and physical aspects in health-related quality of life over 5 to 8 years in 1347 patients with early arthritis and early inflammatory back pain [published online February 19, 2019]. Arthritis Res Ther. doi: 10.1186/s13075-019-1841-y