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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Sep;48(9):1111-3. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep178. Epub 2009 Jul 6.

Presentation and severity of rheumatoid arthritis at diagnosis in Senegal.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Aristide Le Dantec Teaching Hospital, Dakar, Senegal.



Early effective treatment slows structural damage in RA but requires an early diagnosis. Our objective was to determine symptoms duration and presentation patterns of RA at diagnosis in Senegal.


We conducted a cross-sectional study over a 2-year period (from March 2006 to February 2008) at the rheumatology clinic of the Le Dantec teaching hospital in Dakar, Senegal. Consecutive new patients who met ACR criteria for RA were included.


We included 100 patients, 88 females and 12 males, with a mean age of 40.3 +/- 15.5 years and a mean symptoms duration of 54 months. One-fourth of the patients had a positive family history. Pain was the main reason for the rheumatology clinic visit. Mean pain score was 64.3 mm on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. Nocturnal arousals were reported by 69% of the patients and morning stiffness for >1 h by 74%. The tender and swollen joint counts were 10 or higher in 87% and 36% of the patients, respectively, and the mean disease activity score on 28 joints (DAS28) was 6.49 +/- 1.34. Sicca syndrome (n = 13) and rheumatoid nodules (n = 3) were the main extra-articular manifestations. Laboratory evidence of inflammation was found in 87% and RF in 78% of the patients. Antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCPs) were detected in 26 of the 29 patients. Radiographical lesions were visible in 56% of the patients; mean modified Sharp score was 21.76 +/- 47.74.


The diagnosis of RA is delayed in Senegal, and the disease is highly active at diagnosis, although 44 patients have no erosions, and extra-articular manifestations are rare.

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