Spondyloarthritis in inflammatory bowel disease cohorts: systematic literature review and critical appraisal of study designs

RMD Open. 2022 Jan;8(1):e001777. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2021-001777.


To critically appraise study designs evaluating spondyloarthritis (SpA) phenotypes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A systematic literature review of PubMed, Ovid, Scopus, Cinahl, Medline, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases was performed. Articles published from January 2000 - March 2020 were included if they evaluated the prevalence/incidence of musculoskeletal disease in cohorts of IBD patients. Most of the 69 included studies were clinic based (54/69, 78%), single center (47/69, 68%) and cross-sectional (60/69, 87%). The median prevalence of axial and peripheral SpA in IBD was 5% (range 1 - 46%) and 16% (range 1 - 43%), respectively. In 38 studies that evaluated axial disease in prospectively enrolled patients, inflammatory back pain was analyzed in 53%. SpA classification criteria were used in 68% and imaging was performed in 76%. In 35 studies that evaluated peripheral disease in prospectively enrolled patients, SpA classification criteria were used in 46%. A physical exam was performed in 74%, and it was performed by a rheumatologist in 54% of studies with a physical exam. Sub-phenotypes of peripheral SpA (mono- or oligo-arthritis, polyarthritis, enthesitis, dactylitis) were variably reported. Seventy-four percent of studies did not mention whether osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia had been assessed or excluded. The spectrum of SpA phenotypes in IBD patients remains incompletely characterized. Future studies should focus on standardizing the variables collected in IBD-SpA cohorts and defining musculoskeletal phenotypes in IBD-SpA in order to better characterize this disease entity and advance the field for clinical and research purposes.

Keywords: ankylosing; arthritis; autoimmune diseases; spondylitis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Rheumatologists
  • Spondylarthritis* / diagnosis
  • Spondylarthritis* / epidemiology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing*