Key Dimensions of Quality of Life Identified in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Researchers found data that showed that more than half of patient global assessment scores emphasized pain and the ability to function daily, rather than emotional distress, for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), daily function and emotional distress were identified as 2 key dimensions of health-related quality of life contributing to the patient global assessment of health (PGA), according to results published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Researchers studied observational data from 2 patient cohorts at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center between 2012 and 2015. Clinical data was collected after participants completed the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), and the PGA. Cohort 1 (n=196) was used to devise a smaller group of primary factors for the second replication cohort (n=262). Subsequently, multivariable linear regression was conducted to measure contributing factors to PGA.

After analysis of cohort 1, the researchers found that daily function and emotional distress were the key dimensions of health-related quality of life, which accounted for up to 53% and 20% of the variance in PGA scores, respectively.

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“In both cohorts, in adjusted analyses, daily function and to a much lesser extent swollen joint count independently predicted PGA,” the researchers wrote.

One key limitation of the study was the nonheterogeneity of the patient population.

“These findings suggest that generally when RA patients rate their global health, they are primarily describing the impact of RA impact upon their daily function,” they concluded.


Craig ET, Perin J, Zeger S, et al. What does the patient global health assessment in RA really tell us? Contribution of specific dimensions of health-related quality of life [published online September 24, 2019]. Arthritis Care Res. doi:10.1002/acr.24073.