, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 1005-1013
Date: 05 Feb 2008

Factors influencing health status and disability of patients with ankylosing spondylitis in the Czech Republic

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to evaluate factors that influence health status and work disability in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in the Czech Republic. Data were collected in a retrospective fashion directly from patients with AS using mailed questionnaires containing questions regarding sociodemographic characteristics of patients, the course of their disease, therapy, rehabilitation, quality of life, and ability to work. HAQ-DI (Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index) and BASDAI (Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index) were also included in the questionnaires; 1,008 questionnaires were suitable for further statistical analysis. The average age ± SD of patients was 50.2 ± 10.7 years, the average symptom duration was 23.0 ± 11.6 years. Mean time from first symptoms to diagnosis was 9.1 years. Full disability had been awarded to 303 patients (30%) at some point of their disease. Twenty seven percent of patients reported receiving full disability pension for 10 or more years. Four hundred fifty six subjects (45%) were currently or had been previously receiving partial disability pension. Receiving disability pension was more frequent among men (64%) compared to women (56%) (P = 0.012), despite the fact that women had higher BASDAI (P < 0.001) and HAQ-DI (P = 0.004) scores. Patients with a family history of AS had higher BASDAI and HAQ-DI scores (P = 0.001 and P = 0.008, respectively) compared to patients without a family history of AS. BASDAI and HAQ-DI scores correlated with age and duration of illness, younger patients and those with shorter disease duration had lower values. Fifty eight percent of patients reported a BASDAI score ≥4 (current cutoff value for initiation of biological therapy), but only 1% of patients were treated by anti TNF alpha agents within the last year. Seven hundred ninety one patients underwent spa treatment in the previous year; 96% of them experienced improvement of their health condition.