Objective: With the advent of new and expensive antirheumatic treatments with potentially serious side effects, it would be essential to identify as early as possible those rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who have a poor prognosis. Here study was made of the prognostic value of different markers recorded at the onset of RA.
Methods: At the 20-year follow-up of our prospective study, 66 patients had rheumatoid factor-positive (RF+) RA. At commencement of follow-up (disease duration < 6 months), the prognostic value of 19 demographic, laboratory, clinical and radiographic variables was tested to explain the 20-year Larsen score for peripheral joints and the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) index using Somers'd for asymmetrical associations.
Results: An association was observed between onset blood platelets (0.17), serum IgG (0.18), the onset Larsen score (0.33) and the 20-year Larsen score. Old age (0.30), serum orosomucoid (0.17), the function score (0.28), morning stiffness (0.28), and grip strength (0.24) were associated with the 20-year HAQ.
Conclusion: The correlation between the investigated entry variables and end-point outcome was poor. In our discussion we conclude that the most important prognostic factor in RF + RA is the treatment.