How do clinical and socioeconomic factors impact on work disability in early axial spondyloarthritis? Five-year data from the DESIR cohort

E. Nikiphorou*, A. Boonen, B. Fautrel, P. Richette, R. Landewe, D. van der Heijde, S. Ramiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives To investigate the impact of clinical and socioeconomic factors on work disability (WD) in early axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). Methods Patients from the DESIR cohort with a clinical diagnosis of axSpA were studied over 5 years. Time to WD and potential baseline and time-varying predictors were explored, with a focus on socioeconomic (including ethnicity, education, job-type, marital/parental status) and clinical (including disease activity, function, mobility) factors. Univariable analyses, collinearity and interaction tests guided subsequent multivariable time-varying Cox survival analyses. Results From 704 patients eligible for this study, the estimated incidence of WD among those identified as at risk (n = 663, 94%), and across the five years of DESIR, was 0.05 (95% CI 0.03, 0.06) per 1000 person-days. Significant differences in baseline socioeconomic factors, including lower educational status and clinical measures, including worse disease activity, were seen in patients developing WD over follow-up, compared with those who never did. In the main multivariable model, educational status was no longer predictive of WD, whereas the AS disease activity score (ASDAS) and the BASFI were significantly and independently associated with a higher hazard of WD [HR (95%CI) 1.79 (1.27, 2.54) and 1.42 (1.22, 1.65), respectively]. Conclusion WD was an infrequent event in this early axSpA cohort. Nevertheless, clinical factors were among the strongest predictors of WD, over socioeconomic factors, with worse disease activity and function independently associated with a higher hazard of WD. Disease severity remains a strong predictor of adverse work outcome even in early disease, despite substantial advances in therapeutic strategies in axSpA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2034-2042
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Early online date28 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2022


  • axSpA
  • work disability
  • disease activity
  • socioeconomic factors
  • adverse work outcomes

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