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A pilot study of comorbidities in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis at a tertiary care hospital in Northeast India

Sukhjinder Singh, Ratan J. Lihite, Chitralekha Baruah, Mangala Lahkar, Prashant Kumar Singh.


On an average, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with one or more comorbid conditions and these comorbidities are associated with various risk factors and medications use in patients with RA. The aim of this study was to assess comorbidities in patients with RA at a tertiary care hospital of Northeast India. This cross sectional study was conducted for 8 months from August 2014 to April 2015. The data was collected from medicine (unit-III) outpatient department of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Guwahati, Northeast India. Fifty one RA patients were found during study period. PatientÂ’s socio-demographic characteristics, comorbidities, risk factors for comorbidities, laboratory investigations, and past & current medications use were collected during their visit to hospital. DAS28 scale was used to assess the disease activity in RA patients. Descriptive statistics were used. Non-normally distributed continuous variables are presented in median and interquartile range. The median age of RA patients was 45(IQR;15). The disease activity was found high (DAS-ESR>5.1) in 34 (66.67%) patients. The median DAS28 score was 5.64(IQR;1.44). Majority of the patients with RA were anaemic (n=34, 66.67%) followed by infection (n=7, 13.73%), thyroid disease (n=5, 9.80%), renal disease (n=4, 7.84%), osteoporosis (n=3, 5.88%), cardiovascular disease (n=3, 5.88%), lung disease (n=3, 5.88%), and vasculitis (n=1, 1.96%). The commonly reported risk factor was hypertension (19.61%) followed by diabetes (n=5, 9.80%), dyslipidemia (n=4, 7.84%), smoking (n=4, 7.84%), family history of CVD (n=2, 3.92%), and alcohol intake (n=1, 1.96%). Among DMARDS, methotrexate (92.16%) was the most commonly prescribed drug followed by hydroxychloroquine (74.51%) and sulfasalazine (27.45%). Anaemia was the most common comorbid condition found in RA patients. Disease activity was found high in anaemic patients with RA.

Key words: RA, Patients, DMARDS, Anemia, Comorbidities

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