Variable impacts of different remission states on health-related quality of life in rheumatoid arthritis

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Objective Targeting remission in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) improves health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and disability. However, the impacts of different remission criteria and durations and their frequencies are uncertain. Our observational study assessed these factors. Methods We recruited RA patients with disease durations < 10 years, stable suppressive therapies and stable disease activity scores for 28 joints using ESR (DAS28-ESR) ≤3.2. Intermittent and sustained remisisons were classified using DAS28ESR, simple disease activity index (SDAI) and ACR/EULAR Boolean criteria. HRQoL, measured using SF-36, fatigue, EuroQol and health assessment questionnaire (HAQ) was compared using time-integrated areas under the curve (AUC). Results 104 patients were enrolled and followed for 12 months. DAS28-ESR remissions were intermittent in 42%, sustained in 47% and absent in 11%. Boolean remissions were intermittent in 38%, sustained in 10% and absent in 52%. Baseline remissions by all criteria significantly improved HAQ, Euroqol, SF36 and fatigue scores compared with low disease activity (LDAS); AUCs showed significant benefits for all HRQoLs persisted over 12-months. Boolean remissions achieved most benefits. Over time all remission states gave significantly better HRQoL scores than LDAS. Sustained DAS28ESR and SDAI remissions improved HRQoL more than intermittent remissions. Sustained and intermittent Boolean remissions gave similar improvements. Analysis of SF-36 domains showed even sustained Boolean remissions failed to optimise pain and fatigue. Conclusion All remissions improve HRQoL but different criteria have variable impacts. Boolean remission had most impact but occurred least. There are trade-off between optimising individual impacts (Boolean remissions) and achieving maximal overall impacts (DAS28-ESR remissions).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number2
Early online date18 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2018


  • HAQ
  • Quality of life
  • Remission
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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