To describe disease expression and damage accrual in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and determine the influence of ethnicity and socioeconomic factors on damage accrual in a large multiethnic Canadian cohort.
Adults with SLE were enrolled in a multicenter cohort. Data on sociodemographic factors, diagnostic criteria, disease activity, autoantibodies, treatment, and damage were collected using standardized tools, and results were compared across ethnic groups. We analyzed baseline data, testing for differences in sociodemographic and clinical factors, between the different ethnic groups, in univariate analyses; significant variables from univariate analyses were included in multivariate regression models examining for differences between ethnic groups, related to damage scores.
We studied 1416 patients, including 826 Caucasians, 249 Asians, 122 Afro-Caribbeans, and 73 Aboriginals. Although the overall number of American College of Rheumatology criteria in different ethnic groups was similar, there were differences in individual manifestations and autoantibody profiles. Asian and Afro-Caribbean patients had more frequent renal involvement and more exposure to immunosuppressives. Aboriginal patients had high frequencies of antiphospholipid antibodies and high rates of comorbidity, but disease manifestations similar to Caucasians. Asian patients had the youngest age at onset and the lowest damage scores. Aboriginals had the least education and lowest incomes. The final regression model (R2=0.27) for higher damage score included older age, longer disease duration, low income, prednisone treatment, higher disease activity, and cyclophosphamide treatment.
There are differences in lupus phenotypes between ethnic populations. Although ethnicity was not found to be a significant independent predictor of damage accrual, low income was.
Current clinical trial designs for pharmacologic interventions in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) do not reflect the innovations in RA diagnosis, treatment, and care in countries where new drugs are most often used. The objective of this project was to recommend revised entry criteria and other study design features for RA clinical trials.
Recommendations were developed using a modified nominal group consensus method. Canadian Rheumatology Research Consortium (CRRC) members were polled to rank the greatest challenges to clinical trial recruitment in their practices. Initial recommendations were developed by an expert panel of rheumatology trialists and other experts. A scoping study methodology was then used to examine the evidence available to support or refute each initial recommendation. The potential influence of CRRC recommendations on primary outcomes in future trials was examined. Recommendations were finalized using a consensus process.
Recommendations for clinical trial inclusion criteria addressed measures of disease activity [Disease Activity Score 28 using erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR) > 3.2 PLUS = 3 tender joints using 28-joint count (TJC28) PLUS = 3 swollen joint (SJC28) OR C-reactive protein (CRP) or ESR > upper limit of normal PLUS = 3 TJC28 PLUS = 3 SJC28], functional classification, disease classification and duration, and concomitant RA treatments. Additional recommendations regarding study design addressed rescue strategies and longterm extension.
There is an urgent need to modify clinical trial inclusion criteria and other study design features to better reflect the current characteristics of people living with RA in the countries where the new drugs will be used.
To update estimates of cancer risk in SLE relative to the general population.
A multisite international SLE cohort was linked with regional tumor registries. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated as the ratio of observed to expected cancers.
Across 30 centres, 16,409 patients were observed for 121,283 (average 7.4) person-years. In total, 644 cancers occurred. Some cancers, notably hematologic malignancies, were substantially increased (SIR 3.02, 95% confidence interval, CI, 2.48, 3.63), particularly non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, NHL (SIR 4.39, 95% CI 3.46, 5.49) and leukemia. In addition, increased risks of cancer of the vulva (SIR 3.78, 95% CI 1.52, 7.78), lung (SIR 1.30, 95% CI 1.04, 1.60), thyroid (SIR 1.76, 95% CI 1.13, 2.61) and possibly liver (SIR 1.87, 95% CI 0.97, 3.27) were suggested. However, a decreased risk was estimated for breast (SIR 0.73, 95% CI 0.61-0.88), endometrial (SIR 0.44, 95% CI 0.23-0.77), and possibly ovarian cancers (0.64, 95% CI 0.34-1.10). The variability of comparative rates across different cancers meant that only a small increased risk was estimated across all cancers (SIR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05, 1.23).
These data estimate only a small increased risk in SLE (versus the general population) for cancer over-all. However, there is clearly an increased risk of NHL, and cancers of the vulva, lung, thyroid, and possibly liver. It remains unclear to what extent the association with NHL is mediated by innate versus exogenous factors. Similarly, the etiology of the decreased breast, endometrial, and possibly ovarian cancer risk is uncertain, though investigations are ongoing.
To determine the proportion of family physicians who diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) correctly and to note how they report they would manage RA patients.
Mailed survey (self-administered questionnaire) requesting comments on vignettes.
Province of Quebec.
Computer-generated random sample of family physicians registered with the Quebec College of Family Physicians.
The proportion of family physicians who recognized RA and their reported management strategies.
Most respondents recognized the vignette presentation as a case of RA; 133/138 (96.4%) indicated RA as their provisional diagnosis, and all but 1 of the remaining respondents listed RA as a differential diagnosis. Of those who considered RA as a provisional or possible diagnosis, 107 (77.5% of all respondents) suggested referring the patient to a rheumatologist. Among the physicians who suggested referral, none indicated they would initiate disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Almost all respondents considered RA as a provisional or differential diagnosis. Although many suggested referring the patient to a rheumatologist, almost a quarter did not. Initiating DMARDs before referring patients to rheumatologists appears to be rare. Since DMARDs given during the early stages of RA are known to decrease damage and dysfunction, ways to increase their use and optimize care pathways for new-onset inflammatory arthritis are urgently needed.
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Pleuritis is a common manifestation and independent predictor of mortality in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We examined the prevalence of pleuritis and factors associated with pleuritis in a multicenter Canadian SLE cohort.
We studied consecutive adults satisfying the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria for SLE who had a completed Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/ACR Damage Index (SDI) score, at least 1 evaluable extractable nuclear antigen assay, and either a SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) or a SLE Activity Measure score. Pleuritis was defined as having pleuritis by satisfying the ACR criteria or the SLEDAI. Factors related to pleuritis were examined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.
In our cohort of 876 patients, 91% were women, 65% Caucasian, mean age (+/- SD) was 46.8 +/- 13.5 years, and disease duration at study entry was 12.1 +/- 9.9 years; the prevalence of pleuritis was 34% (n = 296). Notably, greater disease duration (p = 0.002), higher SDI score (p
Care in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is optimized by involvement of rheumatologists. We wished to determine whether patients suspected of having new-onset RA in Québec consulted with a rheumatologist, to document any delay in these consultations, and to determine factors associated with prompt consultation.
Physician reimbursement administrative data were obtained for all adults in Québec. Suspected new-onset cases of RA in the year 2000 were defined operationally as a physician visit for RA (based on the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnostic codes), where there had been no prior visit code to any physician for RA in the preceding 3 years. For those patients who were first diagnosed by a nonrheumatologist, Cox regression modeling was used to identify patient and physician characteristics associated with time to consultation with a rheumatologist.
Of the 10,001 persons coded as incident RA by a nonrheumatologist, only 27.3% consulted a rheumatologist within the next 2.5-3.5 years. Of those who consulted, the median time from initial visit to a physician for RA to consultation with a rheumatologist was 79 days. The strongest predictors of shorter time to consultation were female sex, younger age, being in a higher socioeconomic class, and having greater comorbidity.
Our data suggest that the vast majority of patients suspected of having new-onset RA do not receive rheumatology care. Further action should focus on this issue so that outcomes in RA may be optimized.
From the Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC); Division of Rheumatology, MUHC; Division of Clinical Immunology/Allergy, MUHC; Jewish General Hospital and McGill University; Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemont and University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec; University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba; University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto Western Research Institute, Toronto; University of Western Ontario, London; University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario; and Lethbridge Regional Hospital, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate factors affecting therapeutic approaches used in clinical practice for the management of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), in a multicenter cohort. METHODS: We combined data from 10 clinical adult SLE cohort registries in Canada. We used multivariate generalized estimating equation methods to model dichotomized outcomes, running separate regressions where the outcome was current exposure of the patient to specific medications. Potential predictors of medication use included demographic (baseline age, sex, residence, race/ethnicity) and clinical factors (disease duration, time-dependent damage index scores, and adjusted mean SLE Disease Activity Index-2K scores). The models also adjusted for clustering by center. RESULTS: Higher disease activity and damage scores were each independent predictors of exposure to nonsteroid immunosuppressive agents, and for exposure to prednisone. This was not definitely demonstrated for antimalarial agents. Older age at diagnosis was independently and inversely associated with exposure to any of the agents studied (immunosuppressive agents, prednisone, and antimalarial agents). An additional independent predictor of prednisone exposure was black race/ethnicity (adjusted RR 1.46, 95% CI 1.18, 1.81). For immunosuppressive exposure, an additional independent predictor was race/ethnicity, with greater exposure among Asians (RR 1.39, 95% CI 1.02, 1.89) and persons identifying themselves as First Nations/Inuit (2.09, 95% CI 1.43, 3.04) than among whites. All of these findings were reproduced when adjustment for disease activity was limited to renal involvement. CONCLUSION: Ours is the first portrayal of determinants of clinical practice patterns in SLE, and offers interesting real-world insights. Further work, including efforts to determine how differing clinical approaches may influence outcome, is in progress.
The (ever) prevalence of neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE) can vary widely depending on the definition used. We determined the prevalence of NPSLE in 1000 Faces of Lupus, a large multicenter Canadian cohort.
Adults enrolled at 10 sites who satisfied the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were included. NPSLE was defined as (i) NPSLE by ACR classification criteria (seizures or psychosis), (ii) ACR, SLEDAI (seizure, psychosis, organic brain syndrome, cranial nerve disorder, headache, and cerebrovascular accident (CVA)), SLAM (CVA, seizure, cortical dysfunction, and headache), and SLICC (cognitive impairment, psychosis, seizures, CVA, cranial or peripheral neuropathy, and transverse myelitis) with and (iii) without minor nonspecific NPSLE manifestations (including mild depression, mild cognitive impairment, and electromyogram-negative neuropathies), and (iv) by ACR and SLEDAI neuropsychiatric (NP) indexes alone. Factors associated with NPSLE were explored using regression models.
Cohort size was 1253, with mean disease 12 ± 10 years, mean age 41 ± 16 years, and 86% female. Subgroup size was dependent on the specific definition of NPSLE. Prevalence of NPSLE was 6.4% in group (i), n = 1253 (n = 80); 38.6% in group (ii), n = 681(n = 263); 28.7% in group (iii), n = 586 (n = 168); and 10.2% in group (iv), n = 1125 (n = 115). In univariate analysis, Aboriginals had a nearly 2-fold increase in frequency of NPSLE in all groups. Education level and income were not associated with NPSLE (P = 0.32 and 0.03, respectively). As well, number of ACR criteria, SLAM, age at diagnosis, disease duration, and gender were not associated with NPSLE. Anti-Ro was significantly associated in groups (i) and (iv) and antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) were increased in groups (i), (ii), and (iii); however, this lost significance when thromboembolic events were excluded from SLICC, SLEDAI, and SLAM indexes. In group (iv), absence of anti-Sm was significant. In multivariate analysis, anti-Ro and aPL (i) and anti-Ro+ and lack of anti-Sm (iv) were significant. NPSLE was not increased in those with +anti-DNA, La, or ribonucleoprotein (RNP), lupus anticoagulant (LAC), or anticardiolipin (aCL) antibody.
The prevalence and factors associated with NPSLE varied depending on the definition used, was highest in Aboriginals, and may be higher if +anti-Ro or aPL are present. SLAM and SLICC include mild subjective disease manifestations, which contributed to a 10% higher prevalence of NPSLE compared to a more strict definition. NPSLE may be less in this database than other publications as its overall prevalence may be decreasing, or because of selection bias inherent to those who enter an observational cohort. NPSLE was associated with aPL and often anti-Ro and varied by ethnicity.
University of Toronto, Toronto Western Research Institute, Psoriatic Arthritis Program, University Health Network, Centre for Prognosis Studies in the Rheumatic Diseases, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst Street, 1E-410B, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
We aimed to determine disease severity and treatment of patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in rheumatology practices in Canada through the PsA Assessment in Rheumatology (PAIR) study.
Rheumatologists who were members of the Canadian Rheumatology Association were asked to complete a form for each patient addressing demographic questions, history, clinical examination, and patient-reported outcomes. Results were compared with a cohort seen in a PsA clinic during the same period.
From across Canada, 22 rheumatologists from 5 provinces submitted information about 233 consecutive patients with PsA [145 men (62.2%), 88 women (37.8%), mean age 53.2 yrs (Â±12.7), 88.4% disease duration>2 yrs]. A majority (80.7%) fulfilled ClASsification for Psoriatic ARthritis (CASPAR) criteria, and 30% had taken no disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Clinical joint damage was documented in 60% of the patients, active skin disease in 70%, and nail lesions in 32%. Only 22% were rated as having moderate to high disease activity, while 52% were rated as low disease activity and 26% were deemed in remission. The decision was based on joint counts, patient global assessment, physician global assessment, and acute-phase reactants. Twenty-seven percent of the patients were to have their medications changed based on the current visit, the majority for inadequate response to medications. Patients in the PAIR cohort had more inflamed joints but similar damage to those in the PsA clinic.
Patients with PsA seen in regular rheumatology practice fulfill CASPAR criteria, have active disease, and more than half have joint damage. The majority have low activity or are in remission.
To investigate rheumatology practice in Canada with regard to evaluating disease activity status and treatment regimens in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It was hypothesized that patients with "smoldering" disease activity were not being adequately treated.
Rheumatologists were invited to participate by the Canadian Rheumatology Association in an audit entitled the Assessment in Rheumatology (AIR) program. From across Canada, 65 rheumatologists participated. One thousand five hundred ninety-six consecutive patients with RA seen in regular clinics were classified according to 4 states of disease activity: remission, controlled adequately, smoldering, and uncontrolled. Demographics (age, sex, geographic region), therapy (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, biologicals, steroids), joint counts (tender/swollen), comorbidity, and treatment decisions at the time of the visit were recorded. Data were collected at the time of the visit with personal digital assistants (PDA) and aggregated, without personal identifiers, for analysis in SPSS.
The majority of patients had "smoldering" (29%) or "uncontrolled" disease (23%), with the remainder in "remission" (15%) or "controlled adequately" (33%) at the time of their visit. Following the appointment, the uncontrolled group had a 100% increase (from 10.4% to 23.4%) in the addition of biological agents; however, there was no significant increase in the rates for those with smoldering disease (19.4% to 20.5%).
Despite Canada's universal healthcare system, current treatment regimens may not be optimized on the basis of disease activity. A large proportion of patients with RA (29%) seen in Canadian rheumatology practices may be experiencing unnecessary disease for a variety of reasons.