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.

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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

Clinical characterisation of a multicentre nationwide cohort of patients with antisynthetase syndrome

Background: Antisynthetase syndrome (ASyS) is characterised by the association of inflammatory myopathy, interstitial lung disease (ILD), arthritis, Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) or mechanic's hands (MH), with the presence of anti-aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetase antibodies (anti-ARS). It has been suggested that different anti-ARS may be associated with distinct clinical pictures. Objective: To characterise the clinical and immunological features of a multicentric nationwide cohort of ASyS patients. Methods: This is a multicentre retrospective cohort study including patients with ASyS from nine Portuguese rheumatology centres. Data on patients' demographics, signs and symptoms, laboratory results, pulmonary imaging findings and treatment with immunomodulators were collected. Comparison between patients with different anti-ARS antibodies was made using the Chi-square test for categorical variables and Student's t-test or Man-Whitney test for continuous variables, considering anti-Jo1 positive patients as the reference group. Results: Seventy patients were included (70% female) with a median age in years at disease onset of 52 (15-75) years and median follow-up time of 3 years (range 0-32). The three most common clinical manifestations were ILD (n=53, 75.7%), followed by arthritis (n=43, 61.4%) and myositis (n=37, 52.9%). Forty-three patients were positive for anti-Jo1 (61.4%), 11 for anti-PL12 (15.7%), 10 for anti-PL7 (14.3%), 4 for anti-EJ (5.7%), and 2 for anti-OJ (2.9%) antibodies. Antibody co-positivity with anti-Ro52 antibodies was found in 15 patients (21.4%) and was more prevalent in anti-Jo1 patients. ILD prevalence was similar in the different anti-ARS subgroups, without statistically significant differences. Patients positive for anti-PL7 antibodies had significantly lower risk of presenting arthritis (p =< 0.05) and those positive for anti-PL-12 antibodies had a significantly lower risk of presenting myositis than the reference group of anti-Jo1 positive patients (p =< 0.05). RP was more frequently found in patients positive for anti-PL-12 than in anti-Jo1-positive patients (p =< 0.05). Malignancies were reported in four (5.7%) patients, none of whom were anti-Ro52-positive, and one of such patients had a double malignancy. Only three deaths were reported. Corticosteroids were the most frequently prescribed therapy and the use of immunosuppressive drugs was decided according to the type of predominant clinical manifestation. Conclusion: The three most common clinical manifestations were ILD, followed by arthritis and myositis. Patients positive for anti-PL7 antibodies had significantly lower risk of presenting arthritis and those positive for anti-PL-12 antibodies had a significantly lower risk of presenting myositis than the reference group of anti-Jo1 positive patients. RP was more frequently found in patients positive for anti-PL-12 than in anti-Jo1-positive patients. Corticosteroids were the most frequently prescribed therapy. These results are generally concordant with data retrieved from international cohorts.
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Shear-wave elastography evaluation of major salivary glands in primary Sjögren’s syndrome

Objectives: Salivary glands ultrasonography has recently been shown to be useful in the diagnosis of Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome (pSS). Shear-wave elastography (SWE) is a promising tool for the quantitative assessment of tissues stiffness, but studies evaluating its role in pSS diagnosis are limited. This study aimed at investigating the diagnostic performance of SWE in pSS. Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional study including patients fulfilling the 2016 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for pSS and healthy subjects. The four major salivary glands were assessed using SGUS. B-mode scans were rated using the Hočevar score, and shear-wave velocity (SWV) values were obtained using SWE. Intraclass-correlation coefficient (ICC) estimates were used to assess reliability. Cut-off values for differentiating pSS patients from healthy subjects were calculated using Receiver-Operating Characteristics (ROC) curves. Results: We included 50 pSS and 25 healthy subjects. Inter-rater reliability of SWE was moderate (ICC=0.64) and intra-rater reliability was moderate to good (ICC= 0.73 to 0.83). Total SWV (2.09 m/s (0.32); p < 0.001), parotid SWV (2.25 m/s (0.40)) and submandibular SWV (1.92 m/s (0.38)) were significantly higher in pSS patients. Total and parotid SWV presented good diagnostic performance for pSS diagnosis (AUROC= 0.80 and 0.81, respectively). The Hočevar score demonstrated excellent diagnostic performance (AUROC= 0.98) and combining it with total SWV did not result in statistically significant improvement (p=0.301). Conclusions: SWE may contribute to the diagnosis of pSS. Large prospective studies including sicca and secondary SS patients, as well as the standardisation of SWE protocols, are warranted to assess the role of SWE in pSS management.
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Assessment of the outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and young people followed at Portuguese pediatric rheumatology clinics

Introduction: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) generally appears to have milder clinical symptoms and fewer laboratory abnormalities in children. It remains unknown whether children and young people with inflammatory chronic diseases who acquire SARS-CoV-2 infection have a more severe course, due to either underlying disease or immunosuppressive treatments. Objectives: To assess the epidemiological features and clinical outcomes of children and young people with inflammatory chronic diseases followed at Pediatric Rheumatology Clinics who were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Methods: A multicentric prospective observational study was performed. Data on demographic variables, clinical features and treatment were collected between March 2020 and September 2021, using the Rheumatic Diseases Portuguese Register ( and complemented with data from the hospital clinical records. Results: Thirty-four patients were included, 62% were female, with a median age of 13 [8-16] years and a median time of inflammatory chronic disease of 6 [3-10] years. The most common diagnoses were juvenile idiopathic arthritis (n=22, 64.7%), juvenile dermatomyositis (n=3, 8.8%) and idiopathic uveitis (n=3, 8.8%). Twenty patients were on conventional synthetic disease modifying drugs (csDMARDs) and 10 on biologic DMARDs (bDMARDs). Five patients had an active inflammatory disease at the time of infection (low activity). Seven patients had an asymptomatic infection while 27 patients (79%) had symptoms: cough (n=12), fever (n=11), rhinorrhea (n=10), headache (n=8), malaise (n=8), fatigue (n=7), anosmia (n=5), myalgia (n=5),dysgeusia (n=4), odynophagia (n=4), chest pain (n=2), diarrhea (n=2), arthralgia (n=1), vomiting (n=1) and conjunctivitis (n=1). No patient required hospitalization or directed treatment, and all recovered without sequelae. In 8 patients there was a change in the baseline medication during the infection: suspension of bDMARDs (n=4), reduction of bDMARDs (n=1), suspension of csDMARDs (n=4) and reduction of csDMARDs (n=2). Only in one patient with juvenile dermatomyositis (who discontinued bDMARDs and csDMARDs), the underlying disease worsened. Conclusions: This is the first study involving children with inflammatory chronic diseases followed at Rheumatology Clinics and SARS-CoV-2 infection in Portugal. In our cohort, mild illness was predominant, which is consistent with the literature. There was no need for hospitalization or specific treatment, and, in most cases, no worsening of the underlying disease was identified.
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Most cited

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...

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Impact of Hyaluronic Acid Treatment on Rhizarthrosis: a Systematic Review

Purpose: Trapeziometacarpal (TMC) joint osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disabling condition. Current treatments do not have a significant impact on symptom relief or disease progression and the benefit of visco-supplementation remains uncertain. We aim to evaluate the efficacy of hyaluronic acid (HA...

Pseudo-pseudo Meigs syndrome: an uncommon onset of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Serositis is seen in approximately 12% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), usually in the form of pleuritis or pericarditis. Peritoneal serositis with ascites is an extremely rare manifestation of SLE and ascites as initial manifestation of SLE is even rarer. Here, we describe a previously...