Ten years of clinical experience with adult onset Still's disease: is the outcome improving?

Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Jul;26(7):1055-60. doi: 10.1007/s10067-006-0440-x. Epub 2006 Nov 4.


This study aims to report on the clinical and laboratory picture and the disease course and outcome in patients having adult onset Still's disease (AOSD), to briefly review existing literature on the subject, and to compare our findings with those previously reported. Results are reported for 28 patients with AOSD satisfying the preliminary criteria of Yamaguchi et al. seen in a teaching hospital over the last 10 years. A high percent of the patients with AOSD were women. The mean (+SD) age at disease onset was 27.8 (+8.4) years. We found fever in 100%, rash in 85%, arthritis in 64%, lymphadenopathy in 60%, splenomegaly in 57%, hepatomegaly in 35%, pleural effusion in 17.9%, and pericardial effusion in 3.6% of our patients. Leukocytosis was present in 96% of the patients, a normochromic, normocytic anemia in 54%, and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) in all. Serum ferritin levels were raised in 89% of the patients. The mean follow-up of the patients was 3.72 + 2.46 years. The mean delay in diagnosis was 7.32 + 18.0 months. The mean time to enter remission was 9.7 months. Self-limited, intermittent, and chronic disease course was seen in 14.3, 57.1, and 28.6% of patients, respectively. The outcome was good in about 89% of patients, and mortality was nil. No particular clinical or laboratory variable was found to predict the subsequent disease course and outcome in our patients. On comparing our data with important previous series, we found a higher percentage of women and of patients presenting in the age group 16-35 years, a lower frequency of arthritis and pericardial effusion, and some other notable differences. Importantly, the disease course was benign, probably as an outcome of heightened awareness and less diagnostic delay than in the past, allowing for early, aggressive, and appropriate treatment. It is concluded that AOSD is now a relatively benign disease if diagnosed early and treated appropriately.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Arthritis / etiology
  • Arthritis / pathology
  • Exanthema / etiology
  • Exanthema / pathology
  • Female
  • Fever / etiology
  • Fever / pathology
  • Hospitals, Chronic Disease
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rheumatology / trends*
  • Still's Disease, Adult-Onset / complications
  • Still's Disease, Adult-Onset / drug therapy
  • Still's Disease, Adult-Onset / pathology*
  • Treatment Outcome