Remission in axial spondyloarthritis: Developing a consensus definition

Reumatol Clin (Engl Ed). 2021 Aug-Sep;17(7):380-387. doi: 10.1016/j.reumae.2020.01.008.


Objective: To reach a consensus on the tools available to evaluate disease activity in patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), and to develop a consensus definition of remission in axSpA.

Methods: A modified Delphi method was used. A scientific committee proposed statements addressing the assessment of axSpA in clinical practice and the definition of remission. The questionnaire was evaluated in 2 rounds by rheumatologists from GRESSER (GRupo de Estudio de ESpondiloartritis de la Sociedad Española de Reumatología).

Results: After 2 rounds of evaluation, a panel of 81 rheumatologists reached agreement on 56 out of the 80 proposed items (72.0%). There was agreement that the definition of remission in axSpA should include: disease activity, pain, fatigue, peripheral involvement, extra-articular manifestations, laboratory tests, functional impairment, mobility, quality of life, need for treatment, radiographic progression, and patient and physician global assessments. It is recommended to set a therapeutic goal when starting a treatment. The ideal goal is remission although low disease activity may also be an acceptable alternative. The Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) is the preferred tool to assess disease activity. The panel made a proposal for clinical remission in axSpA based on the ASDAS cut-off value for inactive disease, the absence of extra-articular (acute anterior uveitis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease) and peripheral (arthritis, enthesitis, dactylitis) manifestations, plus normal C-reactive protein levels and absence of radiographic progression.

Conclusion: This work offers consensus recommendations and a proposal of clinical remission that may be useful in the management of patients with axSpA.

Keywords: Delphi method; Espondiloartritis; Evaluación de procesos y resultados (atención de salud); Inducción de remisión; Inflamación; Inflammation; Método Delphi; Outcome and process assessment (health care); Remission induction; Spondyloarthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Axial Spondyloarthritis*
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Spondylarthritis* / diagnosis
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing* / diagnosis