To investigate the relationship between function and disease activity in early inflammatory arthritis (EIA).


Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort (CATCH) (n=1143) is a multi-site EIA cohort. Correlations between the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ) and DAS28 were done at every 3 months for the first year and then at 18 and 24 months. We also investigated the relationship between HAQ and DAS28 by age (<65 versus ≥65) and RF (positive vs negative).


Mean HAQ and DAS28 scores were highest at the initial visit with HAQ decreasing over 24 months from a baseline of 0.94 to 0.40 and DAS28 scores decreasing from 4.54 to 2.29. All correlations between HAQ and DAS28 were significant at all time points (p<0.01). The correlations between HAQ and DAS28 were variable over time. The strongest correlation between HAQ and DAS28 occurred at initial visit (most DMARD naive) (n=1,143) and 18 months (r=0.57, n=321) and 24 months (r=0.59, n=214). The baseline correlation between HAQ and DAS28 was significantly different than correlations obtained at 3, 6, and 12 months (p=0.02, 0.01, and 0.01, respectively). Age did not change the association between HAQ and DAS28 {<65 years old (r=0.50, n=868) versus ≥65 (r=0.48, n=254), p=0.49}. The correlation between HAQ and DAS28 was stronger with RF+ patients (r=0.63, n=636) vs RF negative (r=0.47, n=477), p=0.0043


Over 2 years in EIA, HAQ and DAS both improved; correlations at time points were different over 2 years and RF status affected the correlations.

Keywords: : HAQ, early RA, disease activity, DAS, cohort, correlation, longitudinal..
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