Although developments in surgical and medical treatment methods have improved the average long-term outcome of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it still is a severe disease. An 8-year follow-up study of patients with seropositive RA showed a large variation in the outcome. Only 24 percent of patients had no progression in the radiological destruction of the joints of hands and feet. Premature mortality seems to accumulate in patients with a poor outcome. Study of prognostic markers for RA would be of great importance.