ARP Rheumatology
ARP Rheumatology

An indexed journal, with free submission and free access to all articles

Devoted to international progress in the research, diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

Editorial team

New type of article: Correspondence & Reply

Up to 1000 words, commenting on an article published at ARP Rheumatology within 6 months.

1.375 (2021)Impact Factor
1.463 (2021)Five year Impact Factor
1.40 (2021)CiteScore

Editor’s choice

The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies module of the Rheumatic Diseases Portuguese Register

Aims: To characterise the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) module of the Rheumatic Diseases Portuguese Register ( and the patients in its cohort. Methods: is a web-based system with standardised patient files gathered in a registry. This was a multicentre open cohort study, including patients registered in up to January 2022. Results: was designed to record all relevant data in clinical practice and includes disease-specific diagnosis and classification criteria, clinical manifestations, immunological data, and disease activity scores. Two hundred eighty patients were included, 71.4% female, 89.4% Caucasian, with a median age at diagnosis and disease duration of 48.9 (33.6-59.3) and 5.3 (3.0-9.8) years. Patients were classified as having definite (N=57/118, 48.3%), likely (N=23/118, 19.5%), or possible (N=2/118, 1.7%) IIM by 2017 EULAR/ACR criteria. The most common disease subtypes were dermatomyositis (DM, N=122/280, 43.6%), polymyositis (N=59/280, 21.1%), and myositis in overlap syndromes (N=41/280, 14.6%). The most common symptoms were proximal muscle weakness (N=180/215, 83.7%) and arthralgia (N=127/249, 52.9%), and the most common clinical signs were Gottron’s sign (N=75/184, 40.8%) and heliotrope rash (N=101/252, 40.1%). Organ involvement included lung (N=78/230, 33.9%) and heart (N=11/229, 4.8%) involvements. Most patients expressed myositis-specific (MSA, N=158/242, 65.3%) or myositis-associated (MAA, 112/242, 46.3%) antibodies. The most frequent were anti-SSA/SSB (N=70/231, 30.3%), anti-Jo1 (N=56/236, 23.7%), and anti-Mi2 (N=31/212, 14.6%). Most patients had a myopathic pattern on electromyogram (N=101/138, 73.2%), muscle oedema in magnetic resonance (N=33/62, 53.2%), and high CK (N=154/200, 55.0%) and aldolase levels (N=74/135, 54.8%). Cancer was found in 11/127 patients (8.7%), most commonly breast cancer (N=3/11, 27.3%). Most patients with cancer-associated myositis had DM (N=8/11, 72.7%) and expressed MSA (N=6/11) and/or MAA (N=3/11). The most used drugs were glucocorticoids (N=201/280, 71.8%), methotrexate (N=117/280, 41.8%), hydroxychloroquine (N=87/280, 31.1%), azathioprine (N=85/280, 30.4%), and mycophenolate mofetil (N=56/280, 20.0%). At the last follow-up, there was a median MMT8 of 150 (142-150), modified DAS skin of 0 (0-1), global VAS of 10 (0-50) mm, and HAQ of 0.125 (0.000-1.125). Conclusions: adequately captures the main features of inflammatory myopathies’ patients, depicting, in this first report, a heterogeneous population with frequent muscle, joint, skin, and lung involvements.
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Cycling versus swapping strategies in psoriatic arthritis: results from the rheumatic diseases Portuguese register

Objective: To compare the 2-year retention rate between a second tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitor (TNFi) and secukinumab (SEK) or ustekinumab (UST), in Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) patients with previous inadequate response to their first TNFi. Methods: Prospective longitudinal cohort study with a follow-up period of 2 years using the Nationwide Portuguese database. Patients with a clinical diagnosis of PsA who also fulfill the CASPAR classification criteria, with previous treatment failure to a first-line TNFi and having started a second biotechnological drug (TNFi, SEK or UST) were included. The Cycling group was defined as switching from a first TNFi to a second TNFi, and the Swapping group as switching from a first TNFi to SEK or UST. Sociodemographic data, disease characteristics, disease activity scores and physical function at baseline and after 6, 12 and 24 months were recorded. Cox-proportional hazards regression was used to compare retention rates between Cycling and Swapping groups. To obtain a predictor model of 2-year discontinuation, a multivariable Cox regression model was performed. Results: In total, 439 patients were included, 58% were female, with a mean age (standard deviation) of 49 (12) years. Globally, 75.6% initiated a second TNFi (Cycling group), and 24.4% started SEK/UST (Swapping group). The retention rates after 6, 12 and 24 months were 72%/66%/59% in the Cycling group; and 77%/66%/59% in the Swapping group. There were no significant differences in retention rates between both strategies (HR: 1.06, 95% CI 0.72-1.16). After 2 years of follow-up, 34.4% of patients discontinued their second biologic, mainly due to inefficacy (72.8%), with no differences found between groups. Baseline treatment with glucocorticoids was the only predictor of discontinuation after 2 years of follow-up (HR:1.668, 95% CI 1.154-2.409). Conclusions: After failure of a first TNF inhibitor, Cycling and Swapping strategies result in similar retention rates suggesting that both are acceptable in the management of patients with psoriatic arthritis.
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Impact of COVID-19 on disease (self) management and well-being in people with Rheumatic or Musculoskeletal diseases across four European countries: a mixed methods study

Background: Qualitative data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) in different European countries are lacking. Objectives: To describe the impact of the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with inflammatory RMDs concerning (self)management of their disease, interaction with the health care team, emotional well-being and overall health. Methods: A mixed-methods study of adults (>18 years) with RMDs on immunosuppression from Cyprus, England, Greece, and Portugal took part on online focus groups (FG) after the first wave (July-August, 2020). The data was transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed. Informed by the qualitative findings, a follow-up survey was developed for the same participants after the second wave, allowing to compare the perceived impact. Results: Twenty-four patients (6 from each country; 21 women; 33-74 years range) participated. Three key themes were identified (with 3-7 subthemes each), focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the: (i) individual, (ii) health settings, and (iii) work and community. Overall, qualitative results were similar across countries. The follow-up survey during the second wave highlighted a worsening of psychosocial aspects, e.g. sleep problems, stress, and isolation. Conclusions: People with RMDs felt vulnerable and anxious, specifically about how to cope with isolation and difficulties in communicating with healthcare providers. The second wave had a more significant impact on patients. Healthcare providers and policymakers need to consider measures to ameliorate the longer-term impact that many may still face.
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Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) complicated with post-viral arthritis

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was reported in Europe in the beginning of February 2020. Typical symptoms included fever, cough and dyspnea, and not much was known about the clinical evolution of the disease. Herein, we report a case of a late complication of COVID-19 infection in a 41-year-old...

Imaging of gout: findings and pitfalls. A pictorial review.

Abstract Gout is the most common crystal arthropathy, accounting for up to 5% of all arthritis. The hallmark of the disease is hyperuricemia with the subsequent deposition of monosodium urate (MSU) crystals in the intra- and extra-articular soft tissues and bones, leading to inflammation of these...

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