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ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 15
Clinical research

Prevalence and clinical characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis in Poland: a nationwide study

Bogdan Batko, Marcin Stajszczyk, Jerzy Świerkot, Karol Urbański, Filip Raciborski, Mariusz Jędrzejewski, Piotr Wiland

Arch Med Sci 2019; 15, 1: 134–140
Online publish date: 2017/12/13
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There are no reliable data regarding the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Poland.

Material and methods
The first stage was a face-to-face survey on a nationwide representative sample of 3000 people, which identified respondents with a physician-confirmed diagnosis of RA. The second stage was a survey of RA patients, which characterized the disease course and treatment. It was evaluated by analysis of a representative group of 1957 RA patients in routine clinical practice.

The overall RA prevalence in Poland was 0.9% (95% CI: 0.6–1.2%), 1.06% for women, 0.74% for men. Seventy-eight percent were female, mean age was 56 and mean disease duration 7 years. Younger patients (< 50) remained professionally active in 90% of cases. Thirty percent of patients were diagnosed within 3 months of the first RA symptoms, while for 17% it took more than 1 year. Fifty-six percent of newly diagnosed patients were characterized by high disease activity (DAS-28 > 5.1). Presently, low disease activity (DAS-28 < 3.2) was found in 38.5% of patients. In Poland, 94% of patients have been treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, almost 80% with glucocorticoids. Meanwhile, methotrexate, as an anchor drug in Poland, has been used by 80% of patients, biological agents by 2.94% of patients.

This is the first cross-sectional population-based epidemiological study regarding prevalence of RA in the adult Polish population. The results demonstrate a high prevalence, falling within the upper boundary estimates for Europe. Despite ongoing treatment, the majority still have moderate to high disease activity, and the use of biological therapies is low.


rheumatoid arthritis, disease activity, epidemiology, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs

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