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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2016 Sep-Oct;34(5):901-909. Epub 2016 Jul 6.

Assessment of fatigue in routine care on a Multidimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire (MDHAQ): a cross-sectional study of associations with RAPID3 and other variables in different rheumatic diseases.

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Division of Rheumatology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.
Rheumatology Department, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.
Division of Rheumatology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.



To characterise associations of fatigue with other variables within a multidimensional health assessment questionnaire (MDHAQ) in routine care of patients with different rheumatic diagnoses.


All patients complete MDHAQ, which includes fatigue on a 0-10 visual analogue scale (VAS), and routine assessment of patient index data (RAPID3), a composite of function, pain, and patient global. Physicians complete a RheuMetric checklist which includes 4 VAS for overall global status (DOCGL), inflammation, damage, and distress. Median score for fatigue and other MDHAQ and RheuMetric scores were compared in 4 diagnosis groups: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and fibromyalgia (FM), using a Kruskall-Wallis test. Associations of fatigue with other variables were analysed using Spearman correlations and multivariate regressions.


612 patients were included: 173 RA, 199 with OA, 146 with SLE, and 94 with FM. Median fatigue was significantly higher in FM (7) than in RA (4), OA (5), and SLE (5). Fatigue was correlated significantly with all other MDHAQ scores, at higher levels in RA and SLE versus OA and FM. Fatigue was correlated significantly with DOCGL in RA, OA, SLE, but not FM. In multivariate analyses, fatigue scores were explained independently by higher pain and symptom number in RA; lower age and higher symptom number in OA; only higher pain in SLE; and none of the variables in FM.


Fatigue is common in rheumatic diseases and strongly associated with higher pain and number of symptoms. The MDHAQ provides a useful tool to assess fatigue in clinical settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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