Quality of life and the outcome of established rheumatoid arthritis

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Aug;25(4):585-606. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2011.10.003.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term condition causing joint pain and swelling and sometimes systemic involvement. The aims of treatment are, first, to reduce the impact the disease has on a patient and, second, to halt progression of disease. The advent of intensive therapy, including biologics, has led to a major improvement in outcome. To assess treatment impact, formal outcome measures have been developed. Traditionally, these focussed on the clinical aspects such as disease activity and joint damage. More recently, there has been an increased focus on patient-related outcome measures including quality-of-life measures. These enable illness evaluation from patients' perspectives, examination of care quality and comparison of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatment. This article examines advantages and disadvantages of the various outcome measures which are generally used in RA, with a focus on quality of life and patient-related measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antirheumatic Agents