Research Article

Prognostic value of early features in rheumatoid disease.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 22 May 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:1243
  1. A Fleming,
  2. J M Crown,
  3. M Corbett


    Extensive data on 102 patients who presented with rheumatoid disease within a year of onset were gathered by a prospective study to assess the prognostic value of early features. Outcome was evaluated at a mean 4-5 years from onset on the basis of functional grade, extent of joint disease, early morning stiffness, and grip strength. Twenty-six patients improved, 14 pursued a mild steady course, and 62 had a persistently severe or deteriorating condition. The features recorded at the first visit were correlated with outcome. Those indicating a poor prognosis were: older age at onset, being underweight, poor grip strength, many affected joints, involvement of wrist or metatarsophalangeal joints, poor functional status, fulfilment of many of the American Rheumatism Association criteria for rheumatoid disease, raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate, seropositivity on sheep cell agglutination or latex tests, low haemoglobin level, raised blood urea level, and early erosions on x-ray films.