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Keywords:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Fatigue;
  • Depressive symptoms;
  • RA-related pain;
  • Health-related quality of life

Abstract

Objective

To multidimensionally assess fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to evaluate the impact of fatigue on health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Methods

The study was conducted in 1999 among 490 RA patients with varying disease duration. Fatigue was measured with the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) and HRQOL with a validated Dutch version of the RAND 36-Item Health Survey. We evaluated the impact of fatigue on HRQOL by multiple linear regression analyses taking into account RA-related pain and depressive symptoms.

Results

Different aspects of fatigue selectively explained different dimensions of HRQOL. The MFI-20 was entered last to the linear regression models, resulting in an additional increase of explained variance of 1% (mental health) to 14% (vitality).

Conclusion

The multidimensional portrayal of RA-related fatigue can be used to develop intervention strategies targeted to specific aspects of fatigue. Fatigue, supplementary to RA-related pain and depressive symptoms, appears to be a feasible and treatable target in the clinical management of RA to increase HRQOL.