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Characteristics of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in Qatar: a cross-sectional study




To describe the clinical characteristics, serologic, radiological and clinical disease activity, and modality of therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at tertiary outpatient care in Qatar.


The study design was cross-sectional where 100 consecutive cases who met 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria for diagnosis of RA were enrolled in this study. Demographic data (sex, nationality and age) numbers of swollen and tender joints, X-rays and current medications were collected during outpatients visits to Hamad General Hospital. Disease Activity Score of 28 joints (DAS28) and Health Assessment Questionnaires (HAQ) scores were calculated. All patients with RA who were seen as rheumatology outpatients were invited to participate in the study.


One hundred patients were seen and examined during their follow-up at the outpatient clinic; data were collected and analyzed. Females represented 67% of all patients, 6% had more than six swollen joints, 9% had more than six tender joints. DAS28 and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28) calculation revealed 49% of patients were in remission (DAS28 < 2.6), 15% had low disease activity (DAS28 2.6–3.2) and 36% had DAS28 > 3.2.Mean HAQ score was 1.02. Rheumatoid factor (RF) was positive in 63%, while anti-cyclic citrullinated protein antibody (anti-CCP) was positive in 71%, and 49% were positive for both. Radiography of hands and feet during the previous year was done in 65% of patients: 11% of them had erosions. Sixty-six percent were on one synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) and 27% where on more than one synthetic DMARD and 7% where on no DMRD. Glucocorticoids were used in 51% and 29% were on biologics.


Sixty-four percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients in Qatar were in remission or had low disease activity while the remaining 36% had active disease and among these patients 29% were on biologics.