Four quantitative measures of functional status, grip strength, walking time, the button test, and a questionnaire regarding activities of daily living, were assessed nine years apart in 75 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). After 9 years, 20 patients had died; none were lost to followup. Functional status had declined in more than 80% of patients according to each of the 4 measures, and patients with poor values at baseline were most likely to die over the next 5 years, as reported. We report that baseline values of these measures of functional status were predictive of values 9 years later. These measures may be regarded as "rheumatology function tests" to document and predict morbidity and mortality in RA over long periods.