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ISRN Rheumatol. 2011;2011:437281. doi: 10.5402/2011/437281. Epub 2011 May 4.

Measures of rheumatoid arthritis disease activity in Australian clinical practice.

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1
St. John of God Medical Centre, Suite 19/100 Murdoch Drive, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate which rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity measures are being collected in patients receiving glucocorticoids, non-biologic or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in Australian rheumatology practice.

METHODS:

A retrospective audit of medical records was conducted from eight rheumatology practices around Australia. Each rheumatologist recruited 30 consecutive eligible patients into the review, 10 of whom must have been receiving a biological agent for rheumatoid arthritis. Disease activity measures and radiographic assessments were collected from each patient's last consultation. For biologic patients, disease activity measures were also collected from when the patient was first initiated on the biological agent.

RESULTS:

At last consultation, the disease measures that were recorded most often were ESR (89.2%), haemoglobin (87.5%), and CRP (84.2%). DAS28 was infrequently recorded (16.3%). The rate of recording disease activity measures for patients receiving biologic DMARDs decreased over time (mean 27 months).

CONCLUSION:

This review has shown inconsistency of RA activity measures being recorded in Australian rheumatology clinical practice. An accurate assessment of the disease process is necessary to effectively target rheumatoid arthritis patients to treat in order to achieve optimal outcomes.

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