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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the disease course of patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases: results from the Swiss Clinical Quality Management cohort

Journal Paper/Review - Sep 22, 2020

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Citation
Ciurea A, Papagiannoulis E, Bürki K, von Loga I, Micheroli R, Möller B, Rubbert-Roth A, Andor M, Bräm R, Müller A, Dan D, Kyburz D, Distler O, Scherer A, Finckh A. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the disease course of patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases: results from the Swiss Clinical Quality Management cohort. Ann Rheum Dis 2020; 80:238-241.
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Type
Journal Paper/Review (English)
Journal
Ann Rheum Dis 2020; 80
Publication Date
Sep 22, 2020
Issn Print
Issn Electronic
1468-2060
Pages
238-241
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Brief description/objective

OBJECTIVES
To investigate whether the transient reduction in rheumatology services imposed by virus containment measures during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with disease worsening in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

METHODS
Patient-reported disease activity assessed during face-to-face visits and/or via a smartphone application were compared between three periods of each 2 months duration (before, during and after the COVID-19-wave) from January to June 2020 in 666 patients with axSpA, RA and PsA in the Swiss Clinical Quality Management cohort.

RESULTS
The number of consultations dropped by 52%, whereas the number of remote assessments increased by 129%. The proportion of patients with drug non-compliance slightly increased during the pandemic, the difference reaching statistical significance in axSpA (19.9% vs 13.2% before the pandemic, p=0.003). The proportion of patients with disease flares remained stable (<15%). There was no increase in mean values of the Bath Ankylosing Disease Activity Index, the Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity Index-5 and the Patient Global Assessment in patients with axSpA, RA and PsA, respectively.

CONCLUSION
A short interruption of in-person patient-rheumatologist interactions had no major detrimental impact on the disease course of axSpA, RA and PsA as assessed by patient-reported outcomes.