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Highly Accessed Review

Outcome measures in inflammatory rheumatic diseases

Jaap Fransen* and Piet LCM van Riel

Author Affiliations

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Department of Rheumatology, 6500HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:244  doi:10.1186/ar2745

Published: 14 October 2009

Abstract

Inflammatory rheumatic diseases are generally multifaceted disorders and, therefore, measurement of multiple outcomes is relevant to most of these diseases. Developments in outcome measures in the rheumatic diseases are promoted by the development of successful treatments. Outcome measurement will increasingly deal with measurement of low levels of disease activity and avoidance of disease consequences. It is an advantage for patient management and knowledge transfer if the same outcomes are used in practice and in trials. Continuous measures of change are generally the most powerful and, therefore, are preferred as primary outcomes in trials. For daily clinical practice, outcome measures should reflect the patients' state and have to be easily derivable. The objective of this review is to describe recent developments in outcome measures for inflammatory rheumatic diseases for trials and clinical practice, with an emphasis on rheumatoid arthritis.