Pain, fatigue and functional disability are common key outcomes in most rheumatologic disorders. While many studies have assessed the outcomes of specific disease states, few have compared the outcomes of various rheumatic diseases.
To assess how the intensity and rating of pain, fatigue and functional disability vary among groups of patients with various rheumatic disorders receiving standard care.
Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
In a cross-sectional study conducted in a hospital-based rheumatology unit, standard clinical and laboratory data were obtained and all patients filled out questionnaires on pain, fatigue and daily function. The analysis concentrated on visual analogue scales (VAS) using specific statistical methods.
A total of 618 visits of 383 patients with inflammatory as well as non-inflammatory rheumatic disorders were analyzed. Fibromyalgia patients had significantly higher VAS scores compared to all other groups. On the other hand, patients with polymyalgia rheumatica demonstrated significantly lower VAS scores compared to all other groups of patients. Patients with psoriatic arthritis also demonstrated relatively low VAS scores. VAS scores were lower in patients with inflammatory disorders as compared to patients with non-inflammatory disorders.
Our results suggest a spectrum of outcome intensity in various rheumatic disorders receiving standard care, ranging from fibromyalgia patients who report distinctive severity to patients with inflammatory disorders who are doing relatively well as compared to patients with non-inflammatory disorders. The findings emphasize the need to explore the underlying mechanisms of pain and fatigue in patients with non-inflammatory rheumatic disorders.
Source: Levy O, Amit-Vazina M, Segal R, Tishler M. Visual Analogue Scales of Pain, Fatigue and Function in Patients with Various Rheumatic Disorders Receiving Standard Care. Isr Med Assoc J.  2015 Nov;17(11):691-6.