[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of the axial spondyloarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (ASAS) classification criteria has had several implications for our understanding of the entire spectrum of spondyloarthritides (SpA). Going beyond the modified New York criteria, which concentrate on conventional radiographs of the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) for the classification of ankylosing spondylitis, the ASAS criteria add active inflammation of the SIJ as obtained by MRI and human leucocyte antigen (HLA) B27 to classify patients with chronic back pain starting at a young age as axial SpA (axSpA). AxSpA should be considered as one disease that includes AS, the radiographic form, as well as the non-radiographic (nr-axSpA) form. Similarities and differences between these subgroups have been described in 3 studies: 1 local study, 1 national study (German SpA Inception Cohort) and 1 international study mainly conducted to test the efficacy of a tumour necrosis factor α blocker. Most clinical features and assessments of axSpA showed the same prevalence in patients with and without radiographic changes. However, some differences have been observed: the male:female ratio, the proportion of patients with objective signs of inflammation such as bone marrow oedema as detected by MRI, and the proportion of patients with increased levels of C reactive protein were higher in patients with AS. Importantly, these factors have also been identified as prognostic factors for more severe disease in terms of new bone formation. Thus, nr-axSpA may represent an early stage of AS but may also just be an abortive form of a disease which does cause much pain but which may also never lead to structural changes of the axial skeleton. Since the cut-off between nr-axSpA and AS is artificial and unreliable, we think that the term nr-axSpA should not be used for diagnosis but only for classification for historical reasons.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical research is receiving an increasing amount of attention and is essential for improving treatment of patients with rheumatic diseases.
This article reports on 15 years of experience with conducting investigator-initiated studies on axial spondyloarthritis including ankylosing spondylitis.
We have organized and successfully conducted a series of open-labelled and placebo-controlled double-blind treatment studies and also non-interventional studies on this topic. The installation of a qualified and motivated trial unit and intensive collaboration with a statistician were crucial requirements for success. These results have increased our knowledge about the disease and changed and improved the diagnostic possibilities and the therapeutic options.
Investigator-initiated trials are an important link between basic and clinical research and can substantially contribute to improvement of patient care. This kind of research should be more systematically funded in the future.
Zeitschrift für Rheumatologie 03/2015; 74(2):125-31. DOI:10.1007/s00393-014-1452-6 · 0.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Back pain is a significant medical problem and one of the most common causes of medical consultations and missed work. In acute low back pain, patients with "red flags" indicating a serious underlying spinal or extraspinal disease must be identified by medical evaluation. Most cases of acute back pain are non-specific, and education, physical activity and pain medication is recommended. In addition, yellow flags (risks of developing chronic pain) should be recognized. The management of low back pain has been addressed by the German National Disease Management Guideline (NVL) low back pain published in 2010. This guideline evaluates the evidence and effectiveness of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions with a focus on nonspecific back pain. For chronic nonspecific low back pain intervention based on nondrug and drug therapy and a multiprofessional assessment is recommended. In patients with chronic inflammatory low back pain with onset before the age of 45, rheumatic spondyloarthritis should be considered. Recently, a guideline (S3-Leitlinie) for the management of axial spondyloarthritis including ankylosing spondylitis has become available. It provides evidence of physical and drug therapy including nonsteroidal antirheumatic and Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor therapy.
Der Internist 12/2014; 55(12):1410-8. DOI:10.1007/s00108-014-3558-y · 0.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The SAPHO syndrome, an acronym for synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis and osteitis, is a rare disease which affects bones, joints and the skin. The main osteoarticular features are hyperostosis and osteitis. Osteoarticular symptoms predominantly occur on the anterior chest wall but the spine and the peripheral skeleton can also be involved. The most important skin affections are palmoplantar pustulosis and severe acne. The etiology of this syndrome remains unclear but infectious, immunological and genetic factors are involved. The diagnostic features of SAPHO syndrome are clinical and radiological. The most important diagnostic procedure is Tc-99 m bone scintigraphy but conventional x-rays as well as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also contribute to the final diagnosis. Bone histology and positron emission tomography CT (PET-CT) may help to differentiate SAPHO syndrome from malignancies and infectious osteomyelitis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the cornerstone of treatment. The results obtained using antibiotics and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as sulfasalazine and methotrexate are inconsistent. Bisphosphonates and anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drugs have shown promising results in small studies but further research is still necessary.
Zeitschrift für Rheumatologie 10/2014; 73(8):729-41. DOI:10.1007/s00393-014-1460-6 · 0.61 Impact Factor