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28-07-2020 | Rheumatology | News | Article

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COVID-19 shielding may impact physical, mental QoL in rheumatology patients

Claire Barnard

medwireNews: Stringent social distancing to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with significantly worse physical and mental health-related quality of life (QoL) among patients with rheumatic diseases, researchers report.

The questionnaire study included 1693 UK patients with rheumatic diseases, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis (50.0%), psoriatic arthritis (15.8%), or ankylosing spondylitis (4.8%). Almost half (46.8%) of these people were shielding in their homes according to British Society for Rheumatology advice for patients on immunomodulatory medications.

In all, 61 participants reported COVID-19 infection, 39.3% of whom said they had been shielding at home. By comparison, 47.1% of the patients who did not develop COVID-19 had been shielding, say James Bateman (Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, UK) and co-researchers.

Among patients without COVID-19, the average Physical Component Score (PCS) and Mental Component Score (MCS) on a 0–100 SF-12 health-related QoL scale were significantly worse among those who were shielding compared with those who were not, at 36.7 versus 39.8 for PCS and 41.0 versus 43.2 for MCS. Bateman et al note that these scores did not significantly differ in patients treated with biologic versus conventional DMARDs, and therefore the differences were “not simply a reflection of disease severity.”

They conclude in a correspondence to the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases: “Patients are likely to require increased mental and physical support as a result of the COVID pandemic, and further work on the role of therapy efficacy and impact of shielding is needed.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

28 July 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Ann Rheum Dis 2020; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-218236

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