Long-term fracture risk in rheumatoid arthritis: impact of early sustained DAS28-remission and restored function, progressive erosive disease, body mass index, autoantibody positivity and glucocorticoids. A cohort study over 10 years

Sofia Ajeganova, Maria Andersson, Kristina Forslind, Inger Gjertsson, Britt-Marie Nyhäll-Wåhlin, Björn Svensson, Ingiäld Hafström

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Risk of fragility fractures in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is increased. Disease-related inflammation in RA is associated with low Bone Mineral Density (BMD). However, effects of specific disease factors on fracture occurrence and whether or not such disease effects are independent of BMD are unknown.

METHODS: Analysis of fracture outcome in the prospective cohort of 2557 patients with early RA (67% women, mean age 58.1 ± 15.6 years) during an observation period of 10.6 ± 4.7 years. In 602 patients BMD was measured at baseline. The first major fragility fractures were considered. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis, adjusted for traditional factors, prior fracture, disease activity and period of inclusion, were used to estimate the risk of the outcome.

RESULTS: During follow-up fracture occurred in 352 patients (13.8%), a rate of 13/1000 p-y. A proportional risk reduction for the outcome was associated with Body Mass Index (BMI) at baseline, BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, and over the first two years sustained Disease Activity Score (DAS28)-remission, DAS28-low disease activity and Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) ≤ 0.5. The proportional risk elevation for fractures was associated with BMI ≤ 20 kg/m2, DAS28 at baseline, 6-month and at 1-year, cumulative DAS28 over the two years, RF, erosion score progression at 2-year, HAQ score and HAQ ≥ 1 at 6-month and 1-year and showed a trend for ACPA positivity. The estimated fracture risk was increased in users of glucocorticoids (GC), associated with a higher GC-dosage at follow-ups and a higher cumulative dosage over two years, independently of disease activity. With adjustment for BMD, there was no difference in fracture outcome by exposure to GC. The effects of a higher BMI, DAS28-remission and low HAQ ≤ 0.5 attained at 6-month of treatment initiation and sustained up to 2 years, RF, ACPA, and erosion score progression at 2-year were independent of low BMD.

CONCLUSIONS: This analysis supports importance of RA-specific risk factors in early RA for future major fragility fractures. Treat-to-target strategy and restored functional capacity in early RA-disease are important to prevent fractures. Autoantibody positivity, progressively erosive disease, and low weight could have additional value for personalized fracture preventive strategies in early RA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages15
JournalBMC rheumatology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • early rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fracture risk
  • bone mineral density
  • Body mass index
  • Sustained disease control
  • Functional ability
  • Autoantibody
  • Erosive disease

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