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Hand bone mineral density is an effective predictor of mortality in rheumatoid arthritis
Date:6/12/2008

Paris, France, Thursday 12 June 2008: Low bone mineral density in the hand is a valid predictor of overall mortality in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and indicates long-term prognosis, according to a new study presented today at EULAR 2008, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris, France. Digital X-ray radiogrammetry (DXR) demonstrated bone mineral density to be as effective predicting mortality as well-established means of assessment such as radiographic damage and functional disability.

During the study, different standard measures of disease activity were investigated in order to assess their capacity to predict all-cause mortality. Over a period of 27 years (1978 2005), age-sex adjusted proportional hazards models for 84 RA patients, found the following to be significant predictors of mortality:

  • Bone mineral density in the hand (RR=0.55/1SD, 95% CI 0.35-0.87)

  • Steinbrocker functional classification (RR=1.86/1SD, 95% CI 1.35-2.56)

  • The physician's global assessment (RR=1.37/1SD, 95% CI 1.02-1.82)

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (RR=1.86/1SD, 95% CI 1.41-2.46)

Conversely, during this study, certain measures of rheumatic disease activity, including rheumatoid factor, Larsen index, Ritchie index and the patient's global assessment, were not found to be significant predictors of mortality in RA.

The study's lead researcher, Dr Christina Book of Malm University Hospital, Sweden, said: "This long-term study establishes that measurement of bone mineral density in the hand may be an important physical gauge in anticipating the course of rheumatoid arthritis. It offers physicians an effective tool for assessing a patient's disease and so developing the most appropriate individual management plan."

In the study, 152 consecutive patients (119 women, 33 men) with a mean disease duration of 13 years were enrolled. X-rays of the hands at
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Contact: Rory Berrie / Camilla Dormer
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-077-892-70392
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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