Hand BMD Predicts Mortality in RA
Low bone mineral density (BMD) in the hand is a valid predictor of overall mortality in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and indicates long-term prognosis, according to a new study presented at the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism. Digital X-ray radiogrammetry (DXR) demonstrated BMD to be as effective at predicting mortality as well-established means of assessment, such as radiographic damage and functional disability.
During the study, different standard measures of disease activity were investigated to assess their capacity to predict all-cause mortality. Over a period of 27 years (1978 – 2005), age- and sex-adjusted models for 84 RA patients found the following to be significant predictors of mortality:
• Bone mineral density in the hand
• Steinbrocker functional classification
• The physician's global assessment
• Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
The study's lead researcher, Dr. Christina Book of Malmö University Hospital, Sweden, said, "This long-term study establishes that measurement of bone mineral density in the hand may be an important physical gauge in anticipating the course of rheumatoid arthritis. It offers physicians an effective tool for assessing a patient's disease and so developing the most appropriate individual management plan."
This article was adapted from a press release issued by EULAR.