Published Clinical Papers 2020

COVID-19 in axial spondyloarthritis care provision: helping to straighten the long and winding road

This research was carried out by NASS in collaboration with the APPG for Axial Spondyloarthritis, M&F Health and Dr Helena Marzo-Ortega. The article concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in significant disruption for people living with axial SpA (AS) and the healthcare teams providing the vital NHS services they rely on. The article shines a light on the difficulties that people living with axial SpA (AS) have had accessing vital services, as well as highlighting the innovative steps that healthcare teams have taken to offer people support during the crisis as well as calling for greater collaboration between policy makers and health care providers to safeguard essential care for people with axial SpA (AS).

Feasibility, acceptability and change in health following a telephone-based CBT intervention for patients with axial spondyloarthritis

People with axial spondyloarthritis with or without an additional diagnosis of fibromyalgia were offered telephone based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Changes in patient reported outcomes were then measured, with a higher uptake among people with axial SpA and fibromyalgia which suggests that these individuals may have additional needs.

Did COVID-19 Affect Outcomes for Inflammatory Rheumatic Disease Patients?

This study collected self-reported disease activity in patients with inflammatory disease and compared outcomes during three different time periods between January and June 2020: before, during, and after the COVID-19 wave in Switzerland. No significant fluctuations were observed in patient-reported disease activity outcomes during the study period.

High intensity exercise for 3 months reduces disease activity in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA): a multicentre randomised trial of 100 patients

This study looked at the effectiveness of high intensity exercise on disease activity in people with axial SpA (AS). There was a significant treatment effect of the intervention on the patient reported outcome. Significant treatment effects were also seen for inflammation, physical function and cardiovascular health.

Physical therapy in axial spondyloarthritis: guidelines, evidence and clinical practice

This review explored the current literature surrounding physical activity and exercise in the management of axial SpA (AS). It found that exercise therapy should be individualised and a patient’s own personal preferences should be taken into consideration but include aerobic, flexibility, strength and balance. New technologies were also seen as an important development to help track movement.


Back pain, ankylosing spondylitis and social media usage; a descriptive analysis of current activity

This study analysed online activity with a cross-sectional review of terms relating to ‘back pain’ and ‘ankylosing spondylitis’ on popular websites, blogs and forums over two 3-month periods n 2016 and 2019. There were other relevant terms tracked such as ‘exercise’, ‘medication’ and ‘doctor’. More discussions took place at the start of the week in the afternoons, with pregnance, baby and men’s health forums the most popular places for chats.


Comorbidity burden in axial spondyloarthritis: a cluster analysis

This study examined how comorbidities (related conditions) cluster in axial SpA (AS) and whether these clusters are associated with quality of life, global health and other outcome measures. The two most common comorbidities were hypertension (high blood pressure) and depression.


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

A survey of 1693 people in the UK with rheumatic conditions found that stringent social distancing and shielding can lead to significantly worse physical and mental health. The article concludes that more research into the role of therapy and also the impact of shielding is needed.


Treatment With TNF Inhibitors Slows Radiographic Progression in Ankylosing Spondylitis

Researchers reviewed data from 1280 patients between January 2001 and December 2018. 595 of these were prescribed anti TNF and were followed up for 18 years. The results showed that anti TNF may slow radiographic (changes on x-ray) but there were study limitations.


Self-risk assessment for patients with rheumatic disease during the COVID-19 pandemic

At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, health professionals were told to identify the patients who needed to shield. With no vigorous coding system in place which would allow them to identify this group easily, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust looked at alternatives. They developed a self-risk assessment algorithm and presented it in an animated, home-recorded video with all materials then uploaded onto the hospital website. Patients were directed to this website via a text message or letter.


Real-world experience of secukinumab treatment for ankylosing spondylitis at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath

Researchers looked at their experiences treating 76 people with ankylosing spondylitis with secukinumab.   Significant improvements were seen in all disease outcome measures in patients receiving secukinumab as their first-line biologic agent, with a trend to improved mean BASDAI and BASFI even in patients receiving it as a second- or third-line biologic agent.