Table of Contents
ISRN Rheumatology
Volume 2011, Article ID 437281, 7 pages
Research Article

Measures of Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity in Australian Clinical Practice

1St. John of God Medical Centre, Suite 19/100 Murdoch Drive, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia
2Mid North Coast Arthritis Clinic, Suite 1, 18–20 Scarba St., Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia

Received 13 January 2011; Accepted 1 March 2011

Academic Editor: M. Harth

Copyright © 2011 Andrew Taylor and Hanish Bagga. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To investigate which rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity measures are being collected in patients receiving glucocorticoids, non-biologic or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in Australian rheumatology practice. Methods. A retrospective audit of medical records was conducted from eight rheumatology practices around Australia. Each rheumatologist recruited 30 consecutive eligible patients into the review, 10 of whom must have been receiving a biological agent for rheumatoid arthritis. Disease activity measures and radiographic assessments were collected from each patient's last consultation. For biologic patients, disease activity measures were also collected from when the patient was first initiated on the biological agent. Results. At last consultation, the disease measures that were recorded most often were ESR (89.2%), haemoglobin (87.5%), and CRP (84.2%). DAS28 was infrequently recorded (16.3%). The rate of recording disease activity measures for patients receiving biologic DMARDs decreased over time (mean 27 months). Conclusion. This review has shown inconsistency of RA activity measures being recorded in Australian rheumatology clinical practice. An accurate assessment of the disease process is necessary to effectively target rheumatoid arthritis patients to treat in order to achieve optimal outcomes.