Factors associated with disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

J Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Aug;16(5):215-8. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0b013e3181e92d25.


Objective: Analyze disability determinants in a cohort of Argentine patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Material and methods: Consecutive patients with RA, according to ACR'87 criteria, were recruited from 6 rheumatology centers. Demographic and socioeconomic data, family history, comorbid diseases, extra-articular manifestations and information about received treatments were provided. Disease activity was assessed using Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS 28) and the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ)-A was used for the functional capacity. Hand and feet radiographs were assessed using Sharp-van der Heijde score.

Results: A total of 640 patients with RA were included, of which 85.2% were females. Mean age was 53 years (interquartile range [IQR], 44-62) and mean disease duration was 8 years (IQR, 4-14). DAS 28 mean was 2.72 (IQR, 1.7-3.7) and HAQ-A mean was 0.62 (IQR, 0.13-1.25). Multiple linear regression showed that the main variables associated with disability were DAS 28, radiologic damage and age. Main predictors of functional disability in the multiple logistic regression using severe HAQ (>2) as dependent variable were DAS 28 (OR, 2; P < 0.0001); age (OR, 1; P = 0.008); and structural damage (OR, 1; P = 0.001).

Conclusions: In this population, the disease activity was the variable that showed the highest impact on the physical function. Radiologic damage affected HAQ as the disease progressed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Argentina
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Foot Joints / diagnostic imaging
  • Hand Joints / diagnostic imaging
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Severity of Illness Index*


  • Antirheumatic Agents