Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a common pulmonary manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis. There is lack of clarity around predictors of mortality and disease behaviour over time in these patients.We identified rheumatoid arthritis-related interstitial lung disease (RA-ILD) patients evaluated at National Jewish Health (Denver, CO, USA) from 1995 to 2013 whose baseline high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans showed either a nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) or a "definite" or "possible" usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) pattern. We used univariate, multivariate and longitudinal analytical methods to identify clinical predictors of mortality and to model disease behaviour over time.The cohort included 137 subjects; 108 had UIP on HRCT (RA-UIP) and 29 had NSIP on HRCT (RA-NSIP). Those with RA-UIP had a shorter survival time than those with RA-NSIP (log rank p=0.02). In a model controlling for age, sex, smoking and HRCT pattern, a lower baseline % predicted forced vital capacity (FVC % pred) (HR 1.46; p<0.0001) and a 10% decline in FVC % pred from baseline to any time during follow up (HR 2.57; p<0.0001) were independently associated with an increased risk of death.Data from this study suggest that in RA-ILD, disease progression and survival differ between subgroups defined by HRCT pattern; however, when controlling for potentially influential variables, pulmonary physiology, but not HRCT pattern, independently predicts mortality.
Copyright ©ERS 2016.