Are the C-reactive protein values and erythrocyte sedimentation rate equivalent when estimating the 28-joint disease activity score in rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatology Service, Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Madrid, Spain.
Clinical and experimental rheumatology (Impact Factor: 2.66). 01/2008; 26(5):769-75.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A formula for calculating disease activity score with 28 joint counts (DAS28) with C-reactive protein (CRP) instead of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) has been proposed.
Here we analyze the factors that contribute to the differences in the DAS28 when calculated using either the ESR (DAS28-ESR) or the CRP values (DAS28-CRP).
We analyzed the data from 587 visits made by 220 patients with early arthritis. The age at the onset of the disease was 51+/-16 years old and 76.3% of the patients were women. The disease evolution at the first visit was 5 months and at each visit information related to several variables was collected, including that necessary to calculate the DAS28-ESR and DAS28-CRP. We defined a new variable DIFDAS=DAS28-ESR-DAS28-CRP to analyze which independent variables account for differences between the two indexes.
There was a correlation between the two indexes of 0.91 (p<0.0001), although the DAS28-ESR value obtained was higher than that of DAS28-CRP at approximately 90% of the visits. Significantly, the difference between both indexes was higher than 0.6 in 44% of the visits studied. A multivariate analysis showed that female gender and disease duration were associated with the higher values obtained for DAS28-ESR when compared to those of DAS28-CRP.
Our data show that DAS28-ESR and DAS28-CRP are not fully equivalent, because the former usually produces higher values. This finding is particularly relevant in females and patients with a long disease duration.

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