Original Article

Rheumatology International

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 221-226

First online:

Functional capacity in rheumatoid arthritis patients: comparison between Spanish and Brazilian sample

  • Maiza Ritomy IdeAffiliated withUniversidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná Email author 
  • , Miguel A. Gonzalez-GayAffiliated withHospital Xeral-Calde
  • , Kelly Cristina YanoAffiliated withUniversidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná
  • , Marcelo Jun ImaiAffiliated withUniversidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná
  • , Mario Chueire de AndradeJr.Affiliated withUniversidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná
  • , Javier LlorcaAffiliated withEpidemiology and Computational Biology, School of Medicine and CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública, University of Cantabria

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The main objective of this study is to compare Spanish and Brazilian self-reported health-related functional capacity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 197 patients diagnosed with RA were studied in Spain (n = 127) and Brazil (n = 70). Pain (Visual analog scale) and functional capacity (Health Assessment Questionnaire/HAQ) were assessed. Patients were questioned about regular exercise practice. Comparisons between groups were performed with Chi-square tests and Student t test. Pearson’s correlation coefficient and linear regression models were used to analyze the associations. Brazilian patients were younger (p = 0.013), had worse levels of pain (p = 0.001) and a trend to experience worse functional capacity (p = 0.057) than Spanish ones. Spanish RA patients had higher body mass index (BMI) (p = 0.019) and longer disease duration (p = 0.001). Also, a higher percentage of subjects with RA from the Spanish cohort had been elected to take early retirement when compared with Brazilian patients (p = 0.010). Spanish RA patients had received more drugs than Brazilians (oral corticosteroids p = 0.010, Leflunomide p = 0.023, Methotrexate p = 0.072, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs p = 0.064, biologic therapies p = 0.001). The functional capacity (HAQ) was correlated with age (p = 0.001), disease duration (p = 0.001), age at diagnosis (p = 0.001), pain (p = 0.001) and BMI (p = 0.001) in Spanish patients. In Brazilian, these correlations were only found with disease duration (p = 0.004) and pain (p = 0.001). In conclusion, our data suggest a better management of RA in Spanish when compared with Brazilians. Even with less pain and functional capacity, they receive more drug treatment and a higher percentage of them are retired early.


Functional capacity Rheumatoid arthritis Brazil Spain