Objective: To determine the prevalence of large-joint damage and the association with small-joint damage in patients with RA after 8 years of low DAS (≤2.4)-targeted treatment with different treatment strategies. Methods: Radiological data of 290 patients participating in the BeSt study, a randomized trial comparing initial monotherapy and initial combination therapy strategies, were used. Radiographs of large joints were scored using the Larsen score and of the small joints using the Sharp-van der Heijde score. With multivariate logistic regression analysis, an association between total damage of the small joints and of the large joints was investigated.Results: After 8 years of treatment, damage was observed in 12% of shoulders, 10% of elbows, 26% of wrists, 13% of hips, 18% of knees and 7% of the ankles. Damage in one or more large joints was found in 64% of patients, with a median score of 1. No difference was found between initial monotherapy or combination therapy strategies. There was a significant association between damage progression in small joints and damage to one or more large joints (OR 1.02; 95% CI 1.00-1.04).Conclusion: After 8 years of DAS-targeted treatment in early RA patients, large-joint damage was found in 64% of patients and was associated with small-joint damage. Continued DAS-targeted treatment is probably more important in damage suppression than initial treatment strategy. Patients with more damage to hands and feet also have more damage to the large joints.

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doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kes228, hdl.handle.net/1765/89083
Rheumatology (United Kingdom)

Dirven, L., Van Den Broek, M., Kroon, H., Grillet, B., Han, H., Kerstens, P. J. S. M., … Allaart, C. (2012). Large-joint damage in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and its association with treatment strategy and damage of the small joints. Rheumatology (United Kingdom), 51(12), 2262–2268. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kes228