American College of Rheumatology Guidance for the Management of Rheumatic Disease in Adult Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Version 3

Arthritis Rheumatol. 2021 Feb;73(2):e1-e12. doi: 10.1002/art.41596. Epub 2020 Dec 5.


Objective: To provide guidance to rheumatology providers on the management of adult rheumatic disease in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Methods: A task force, including 10 rheumatologists and 4 infectious disease specialists from North America, was convened. Clinical questions were collated, and an evidence report was rapidly generated and disseminated. Questions and drafted statements were reviewed and assessed using a modified Delphi process. This included asynchronous anonymous voting by email and webinars with the entire panel. Task force members voted on agreement with draft statements using a 1-9-point numerical scoring system, and consensus was determined to be low, moderate, or high based on the dispersion of votes. For approval, median votes were required to meet predefined levels of agreement (median values of 7-9, 4-6, and 1-3 defined as agreement, uncertainty, or disagreement, respectively) with either moderate or high levels of consensus.

Results: Draft guidance statements approved by the task force have been combined to form final guidance.

Conclusion: These guidance statements are provided to promote optimal care during the current pandemic. However, given the low level of available evidence and the rapidly evolving literature, this guidance is presented as a "living document," and future updates are anticipated.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Consensus
  • Decision Making, Shared
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Delphi Technique
  • Deprescriptions
  • Disease Management
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications
  • Rheumatic Diseases / therapy*
  • Rheumatology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Societies, Medical


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents