BACKGROUND: Approximately 10% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have interstitial lung disease (ILD), and one-third have subclinical ILD on chest CT scan. In this study, we aimed to further characterize functional decrements in a spectrum of RA-associated ILD. M ETHODS: All subjects were enrolled in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study (BRASS).The presence of interstitial lung abnormalities (ILAs) on clinically indicated chest CT scans was determined using a previously validated sequential reading method. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the association between degree of ILAs and physiologic, functional, and demographic variables of interest. R ESULTS: Of 1,145 BRASS subjects, 91 subjects (8%) were included in this study. Twelve had radiologically severe ILAs, 34 had ILAs, and 38 had no ILAs on CT scan. Subjects with radiologically severe ILAs were older ( P = .0037), had increased respiratory symptoms (cough, P = .027; dyspnea, P = .010), and more severe RA disease (rheumatoid factor, P = .018; total swollen joints, P = .046) compared with subjects with no ILAs. Participants also had a trend toward having an increased smoking history ( P = .16) and having lower FVC % predicted (77% vs 94%, P = .097) and diff usion capacity of carbon monoxide % predicted (52% vs 77%, P = .068). Similar but attenuated increases in respiratory symptoms, functional decrements, and RA disease severity were observed in subjects with ILAs compared with those with no ILAs. C ONCLUSIONS: We have shown that patients with RA have varying degrees of ILAs that are associated with a spectrum of functional and physiologic decrements. Our findings suggest that improved risk stratification and detection of ILAs will provide a therapeutic window that could improve RA-ILD outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine