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ACR: New Criteria May Identify Rheumatoid Arthritis Earlier

2010 ACR/EULAR classification criteria identifies previously undiagnosed patients

MONDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Applying the new 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Classification Criteria may help identify patients with early disease, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 7 to 11 in Atlanta.

In an ongoing study, Jason R. Kolfenbach, M.D., of the University of Colorado Denver in Aurora, and colleagues assessed 1,790 patients using symptom evaluation, joint examinations, and biomarker assessments to determine the relationship between these factors, the new RA criteria, and the long-term course of disease.

The investigators diagnosed 21 previously undiagnosed participants with definite RA. Six of these 21 participants (28.6 percent) were positive for rheumatoid factor, one (4.8 percent) was positive for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, and 11 (52.4 percent) had elevated levels of C-reactive protein. The researchers also found that the median number of joints swollen was three and the median number of tender joints was 11.

"What will be interesting is following these subjects in order to see if they develop persistent findings that most of us would consider to be consistent with RA. Just defining them as early arthritis isn't as good as following them over time to see if they develop more of the features that we typically see in chronic disease," Kolfenbach said in a statement.

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