Patient perceptions of co-morbidities in inflammatory arthritis

Gouri M. Koduri, Nicola J. Gullick, Fiona Hayes, Shirish Dubey, Chetan Mukhtyar

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Objective: Longer life expectancy has resulted in people living with an increasing number of co-morbidities. The average individual with inflammatory arthritis has two co-morbidities, which contribute to higher mortality, poorer functional outcomes and increased health-care utilization and cost. A number of studies have investigated the prevalence of co-morbidities, whereas this study was designed to look at patient perspectives. Methods: The study comprised two parts: A patient questionnaire and an interview. Individuals with physician-verified inflammatory arthritis along with one or more Charlson co-morbidities were invited to participate. In-depth data were obtained by interviews with 12 willing participants. Results: One hundred and forty-six individuals were recruited; 50 (35%) had one co-morbidity, 69 (48%) had two and 25 (17%) had more than four co-morbidities. Seventy-seven individuals (53%) reported that co-morbidities affected their health as much as their arthritis, and 82 (56%) reported dependence on others for activities of daily living. Lack of education was highlighted by 106 (73%) participants. Qualitative data provided further support for the challenges, with participants highlighting the lack of time to discuss complex or multiple problems, with no-one coordinating their care. This, in turn, led to polypharmacy and insufficient discussion around drug and disease interactions, complications and self-help measures. Conclusion: This study highlights the challenges for individuals with inflammatory arthritis who suffer with multiple co-morbidities. The challenges result from limited resources or support within the current health-care environments. Individuals highlighted the poor quality of life, which is multifactorial, and the need for better educational strategies and coordination of care to improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberrkaa076
JournalRheumatology Advances in Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021


  • Charlson co-morbidity
  • Co-morbidities
  • Education and outcomes
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Patient perception
  • Polypharmacy

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