Frailty Common in RA, Linked to Mortality, Hospitalization

In Scottish cohort, mean frailty decreased as Disease Activity Score in 28 joints lessened over time with treatment

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MONDAY, March 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Frailty is common in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and is associated with hospitalization and mortality, according to a study published online March 16 in RMD Open.

Peter Hanlon, M.B.Ch.B., from the University of Glasgow Institute of Health and Wellbeing in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the prevalence of frailty in RA and its association with disease activity, all-cause mortality, and hospitalization among patients identified from the Scottish Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (SERA) inception cohort and the U.K. Biobank. Frailty was quantified using the frailty index in both datasets and with the frailty phenotype in the U.K. Biobank.

The researchers found that frailty was common in SERA (12 percent moderate; 0.2 percent severe) and in the U.K. Biobank (20 percent moderate; 3 percent severe) based on the frailty index. Using the frailty phenotype, 23 percent in the U.K. Biobank were frail. In SERA, the frailty index was associated with the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28); in both cohorts, the frailty index was associated with age and female sex. In SERA, mean frailty decreased as DAS28 lessened over time with treatment. There was an association noted for the frailty index with all-cause mortality (hazard ratios for moderate/severe frailty versus robust, 4.14 and 1.68 in SERA and the U.K. Biobank, respectively) and with unscheduled hospitalization (incidence rate ratios, 2.27 and 2.74 in SERA and the U.K. Biobank, respectively). Frailty phenotype was associated with mortality and hospitalization in the U.K. Biobank.

"Our findings certainly indicate that some people with frailty and active rheumatoid arthritis have the potential to improve their frailty status with treatment of their RA," Hanlon said in a statement.

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