Arthritis News – 1999
In a longitudinal study involving 256 Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients, Wolf and Sharp (Arthritis Rheum 41:1571-82) demonstrate that radiographic damage occurs at a constant rate over the course of RA. These results are in contrast to previous studies that have shown accelerated progression in the early phase of RA.
In this study, patients were followed from diagnosis toup to 19 years, receiving clinical assessments (mean 24.5) including erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), grip strength, pain scores, tender joint counts, and anxiety and depression measurements as well as paired radiographs (mean 3.1). Radiographic progression rates appeared constant as measured by the summary Sharp radiographic scores. ESR was demonstrated to be the strongest determinant of progression in RA. (see also ACR guidelines-Classification Criteria: Determining Progression of RA)