Researchers have found ways to detect remission in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).The results of a study, reported in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (June 2004), indicated that the factors that predict remission in RA patients are disease activity score, clinical symptoms of disease activity, and x-ray scores. The study involved assessing different factors in 191 patients with early RA to identify remission markers. All of the participants had had RA for <1 year and were followed for 5 years. The researchers defined remission as a disease activity score of <1.6.
The study results showed that, after 3 years, 48 patients were in remission. At 5 years, the number had dropped to 30 patients. The researchers found that the strongest independent predictors included an initial disease activity score of <4, morning-stiffness duration of <60 minutes, and a low total radiographic score.