Objective: To determine the first signs and symptoms, and the clinical, biological and radiological characteristics of patients with early SpA.
Methods: A total of 150 SpA patients were selected from 2367 listed in REGISPONSER (Registro Español de Espondiloartritis de la Sociedad Española de Reumatología). The inclusion criterion was a disease course of <or=2 yrs from the onset of symptoms or the appearance of the first sign of disease.
Results: Forty-six patients had AS, 51 psoriatic SpA (Ps-SpA), 43 uSpA, 5 ReA, 4 IBD arthropathy and 1 JCA. The mean age at onset of symptoms and at diagnosis was higher in Ps-SpA group (48.1 +/- 13.6 and 48.5 +/- 13.6 yrs) than in AS group (38.1 +/- 12.8 and 38.9 +/- 12.7 yrs) and uSpA group (36.3 +/- 11.5 and 36.9 +/- 11.4 yrs). The most frequent signs or symptoms were back pain: 72% AS group and 56% uSpA group. Lower limb arthritis was the first symptom in 57% Ps-SpA patients, 35% uSpA patients and 20% AS patients; upper limb arthritis was the first symptom in 53% Ps-SpA group and <16% of the remainder. Compared with longer duration disease, at onset, AS patients report upper limb arthritis more frequently and uSpA patients report more of enthesitis. Early radiological sacroiliitis was observed in all AS patients, of whom 54% had Grade II, 39% had Grade III and 7% had Grade IV.
Conclusions: In our population, the first manifestations of SpA were low back pain and SI syndrome in AS and uSpA patients and peripheral arthritis in the Ps-SpA group. We can find early SI joint affectation in AS patients.