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Logo of annrheumdAnnals of the Rheumatic DiseasesCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
Ann Rheum Dis. Apr 2001; 60(4): 327–331.
PMCID: PMC1753620

A prospective study of renal disease in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis

Abstract

OBJECTIVES—This prospective study was designed to clarify the frequency, causes, and clinical course of renal disease in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS—235 patients (185 women, mean age 49.4 years) with early RA of less than one year's duration were enrolled and assessed monthly. Proteinuria was defined as a positive dipstick result and microscopic haematuria was defined as the presence of [gt-or-equal, slanted]5 red blood cells per high power field. Urinary abnormalities lasting three months or longer were defined as persistent abnormalities.
RESULTS—At entry, 40 patients exhibited haematuria, two had a raised serum creatinine concentration, and none had proteinuria. During the observation period (average 42 months), persistent haematuria was found in 43, persistent proteinuria in 17, and a raised serum creatinine concentration in 14 patients. Persistent proteinuria was caused by drugs in 14 of 17 patients and disappeared in most cases. Risk factors for drug induced proteinuria included a raised C reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate and age over 50 at entry. Drugs resulted in a raised serum creatinine concentration in eight of 14 patients. The incidence of haematuria at entry did not differ among patients who had been treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, or no drugs. In some patients with isolated haematuria, the haematuria appeared when the activity of RA was high and resolved when it was low.
CONCLUSIONS—This study suggests that a raised serum creatinine concentration or persistent proteinuria in patients with early RA is predominantly drug related whereas, in contrast, isolated haematuria is more directly associated with the activity of the disease process.

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Selected References

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