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Gender differences in patient journey to diagnosis and disease outcomes: results from the European Map of Axial Spondyloarthritis (EMAS)

Garrido-Cumbrera, Marco, Poddubnyy, Denis, Gossec, Laure, Mahapatra, Raj, Bundy, Christine, Makri, Souzi, Sanz-Gómez, Sergio, Christen, Laura, Delgado-Domínguez, Carlos J. and Navarro-Compán, Victoria 2021. Gender differences in patient journey to diagnosis and disease outcomes: results from the European Map of Axial Spondyloarthritis (EMAS). Clinical Rheumatology 40 (7) , pp. 2753-2761. 10.1007/s10067-020-05558-7

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Introduction/objectives To evaluate the journey to diagnosis, disease characteristics and burden of disease in male and female patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) across Europe. Method Data from 2846 unselected patients participating in the European Map of Axial Spondyloarthritis (EMAS) study through an online survey (2017–2018) across 13 countries were analysed. Sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle, diagnosis, disease characteristics and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) [disease activity –BASDAI (0–10), spinal stiffness (3–12), functional limitations (0–54) and psychological distress (GHQ-12)] were compared between males and females using chi-square (for categorical variables) and student t (for continuous variables) tests. Results In total, 1100 (38.7%) males and 1746 (61.3%) females participated in the EMAS. Compared with males, females reported considerable longer diagnostic delay (6.1 ± 7.4 vs 8.2 ± 8.9 years; p < 0.001), higher number of visits to physiotherapists (34.5% vs 49.5%; p < 0.001) and to osteopaths (13.3% vs 24.4%; p < 0.001) before being diagnosed and lower frequency of HLA-B27 carriership (80.2% vs 66.7%; p < 0.001). In addition, females reported higher degree of disease activity in all BASDAI aspects and greater psychological distress through GHQ-12 (4.4 ± 4.2 vs 5.3 ± 4.1; p < 0.001), as well as a greater use of alternative therapies. Conclusion The patient journey to diagnosis of axSpA is much longer and arduous in females, which may be related to physician bias and lower frequency of HLA-B27 carriership. Regarding PROs, females experience higher disease activity and poorer psychological health compared with males. These results reflect specific unmet needs in females with axSpA needing particular attention.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0770-3198
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 17 December 2020
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2021 12:00

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