Objective: To explore associations between remission, based on clinical and ultrasound definitions, and future good radiographic and physical outcome in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: Newly diagnosed patients with RA followed a treat-to-target strategy incorporating ultrasound information in the Aiming for Remission in rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised trial examining the benefit of ultrasound in a Clinical TIght Control regimen (ARCTIC) trial. We defined 6-month remission according to Disease Activity Score, Disease Activity Score in 28 joints-erythrocyte sedimentation rate, American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) Boolean criteria, Simplified Disease Activity Index, Clinical Disease Activity Index and two ultrasound definitions (no power Doppler signal, grey scale score ≤2). Two outcomes were defined: no radiographic progression and good outcome (no radiographic progression+physical function≥general population median), both sustained 12-24 months. We calculated the ORs of these outcomes for the remission definitions.
Results: Of 103 patients, 42%-82% reached remission at 6 months, dependent on definition. Seventy-one per cent of patients had no radiographic progression and 37% had good outcome. An association between 6-month remission and no radiographic progression was observed for ACR/EULAR Boolean remission (44 joints, OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 8.4), ultrasound power Doppler (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.3 to 10.0) and grey scale remission (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 8.0). All clinical, but not ultrasound remission criteria were associated with achievement of a good outcome.
Conclusions: Our data support ACR/EULAR Boolean remission based on 44 joints as the preferred treatment target in early RA. Absence of ultrasound inflammation was associated with no radiographic progression.
Trial registration number: NCT01205854; Post-results.
Keywords: disease activity; early rheumatoid arthritis; outcome research; ultrasonography.
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