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
Ciurea Adrian, Papagiannoulis Eleftherios, Bürki Kristina, von Loga Isabell, Micheroli Raphael, Möller Burkhard, Rubbert-Roth Andrea, Andor Michael, Bräm René, Müller Angela, Dan Diana, Kyburz Diego, Distler Oliver, Scherer Almut, Finckh Axel
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).
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.
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.
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.