Objective: To assess the long-term health outcomes and quality of life of patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) using health and functional assessment questionnaires in 2 populations, one from the USA and one from Italy.
Methods: Patient eligibility criteria: (1) first examined in our units between 1958 and 1990 during the first 6 months after onset of symptoms, (2) diagnosis of JRA by the American College of Rheumatology criteria, (3) disease duration of at least 5 years at the time of assessment of outcome. Instruments used: (1) the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ, short form, or childhood HAQ (CHAQ), and (2) Quality of Life Scales (QOLS, adults only). Eligible patients were identified by computer search and chart review and were then mailed a packet containing a consent/assent form and the assessment instruments.
Results: Of 346 patients who met the eligibility criteria were able to locate 301, and 290 verbally agreed to participate and were mailed packets. Signed consent and complete information were received from 227 of the 290 (78%), 178 from the USA and 49 from Italy. Mean duration of disease at the time of outcome assessment was 15 yrs. 127 had pauciarticular, 55 polyarticular, and 45 systemic onset disease. Mean and (median) scores of the outcomes are shown in the table. [table: see text]
Conclusion: Long-term outcome, as assessed by the instruments used, is very favorable in most patients with JRA 5 years or more after onset of symptoms.