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Clinical Trial Summary

The purpose of this study is to examine whether an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -guided treatment strategy based on a predefined treatment algorithm can prevent progression of erosive joint damage, increase remission rate and improve functional level in the short and long term in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Clinical Trial Description

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease. Patients typically experience pain, functional impairment and reduced quality of life, and are at risk of developing progressive joint damage. The disease primarily affects the small joints of the hands and feet. The current treatment strategy involves early and intensive treatment with close clinical follow up, which attempts to control the disease and avoid inflammation and thereby prevent pain, improve functional level and avoid joint damage. It is therefore important for optimal treatment of RA patients that methods used for diagnosis, disease monitoring and prognostication are highly sensitive. Erosive joint damage occurs early in the disease. Joint deformity is irreversible and causes serious functional impairment. Early and intensive treatment with close monitoring of the inflammation can slow the destructive disease and prevent function loss. However, it has been demonstrated that patients who are shown by conventional clinical and biochemical examination to have low disease activity or to be in remission can still have progressive joint damage. This demonstrates that current clinical/biochemical methods used in daily clinical practice are not sufficiently sensitive and other methods are required for the monitoring of disease activity and prognostication.

The presence of erosions (shown by X-ray examination) as well as anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies and bone marrow oedema (osteitis) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are all independent predictors of subsequent radiographic progression. Bone marrow oedema has been shown to be the strongest independent predictor in early RA and MRI therefore has significant prognostic value.

It is therefore possible that supplementing conventional clinical and biochemical examinations of RA patients with MRI, and intensifying treatment where bone marrow oedema is present, will help reduce disease activity, avoid progressive joint damage and prevent function loss.

The current study is therefore based on the following hypothesis:

By supplementing conventional clinical and biochemical examination of RA patients with low disease activity/in remission with MRI and intensifying treatment in the case of sub-clinical inflammation as measured by the presence of bone marrow oedema, it is possible to prevent radiographic erosive progression, improve functional level and enable more patients to achieve clinical remission. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT01656278
Study type Interventional
Source King Christian X´Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases
Status Completed
Phase N/A
Start date March 2012
Completion date May 2017

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