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Can remission in rheumatoid arthritis be assessed without laboratory tests or a formal joint count? possible remission criteria based on a self-report RAPID3 score and careful joint examination in the ESPOIR cohort

Isabel Castrejón, Maxime Dougados, Bernard Combe, Francis Guillemin, Bruno Fautrel, Theodore Pincus
Journal of Rheumatology 2013, 40 (4): 386-93
23378463

OBJECTIVE: To explore 5 possible criteria for remission in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) based on a patient self-report index, the Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data (RAPID3), with a careful joint examination and possible physician global estimate (DOCGL), but without a formal joint count or laboratory test.

METHODS: The ESPOIR early RA cohort of 813 French patients recruited in 2002-2005 was analyzed to identify patients in remission 6 months after enrollment, according to 2 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) criteria: Boolean ≤ 1 for total tender joint count-28, swollen joint count-28, C-reactive protein, and patient global estimate (PATGL), and Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI) ≤ 3.3. Agreement with 7 other remission criteria was analyzed - Disease Activity Score-28 (DAS28) ≤ 2.6, Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) ≤ 2.8, and 5 candidate criteria based on RAPID3, joint examination, and DOCGL: "RAPID3R" (RAPID3 ≤ 3.0); "RAPID3R+SJ1" (RAPID3 ≤ 3.0, ≤ 1 swollen joint); "RAPID3R+SJ1+D1" (RAPID3 ≤ 3.0, ≤ 1 swollen joint, DOCGL ≤ 1); "RAPID3R+SJ0" (RAPID3 ≤ 3.0, 0 swollen joints); and "RAPID3R+SJ0+D1" (RAPID3 ≤ 3.0, 0 swollen joints, DOCGL ≤ 1), according to kappa statistics, sensitivity, and specificity. Residual global, articular, and questionnaire abnormalities according to each criteria set were analyzed.

RESULTS: Among 813 ESPOIR patients, 720 had complete data to compare all 9 possible criteria. Substantial agreement with the Boolean criteria was seen for SDAI, CDAI, RAPID3R+SJ1, RAPID3R+SJ1+D1, RAPID3R+SJ0, and RAPID3R+SJ0+D1 (92.2%-94.7%, kappa 0.67-0.79), versus only moderate agreement for DAS28 or RAPID3R (79.9%-85.8%, kappa 0.46-0.55).

CONCLUSION: Remission according to CDAI and RAPID3R+SJ1, but not DAS28 or RAPID3R, is similar to that of the ACR/EULAR criteria. RAPID3 scores require a complementary careful joint examination for clinical decisions, do not preclude formal joint counts or other indices, and may be useful in busy clinical settings.

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