Objective. To investigate the extent to which early radiologic damage is predicted by joint inflammation in patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods. Regression analysis was performed on 1-year progression of total radiologic damage for baseline characteristics and cumulative disease activity measures, and the effects of continued joint inflammation on the progression of damage in separate joint groups were investigated.
Results. Odds ratios for progression of total damage were 12 for the presence of rheumatoid factor, 5 for the presence of damage at baseline, and 2 for cumulative joint inflammation. A positive association between continued joint inflammation and progression of damage was found to be statistically significant for most joint groups.
Conclusion. Progression of radiologic damage in patients with newly diagnosed RA is independently associated with the presence of rheumatoid factor and damage at baseline and with cumulative joint inflammation.