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Identifying parameters associated with delayed diagnosis in axial spondyloarthritis: data from the European map of axial spondyloarthritis

Garrido-Cumbrera, Marco, Navarro-Compán, Victoria, Bundy, Christine, Mahapatra, Raj, Makri, Souzi, Correa-Fernández, José, Christen, Laura, Delgado-Domínguez, Carlos Jesús, Poddubnyy, Denis and EMAS Working Group 2022. Identifying parameters associated with delayed diagnosis in axial spondyloarthritis: data from the European map of axial spondyloarthritis. Rheumatology 61 (2) , pp. 705-712. 10.1093/rheumatology/keab369

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Objective To identify the parameters associated with self-reported diagnostic delay (DD) in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) patients across Europe. Methods Data from 2652 patients from 13 countries who participated in the European Map of Axial Spondyloarthritis (EMAS) were collected through an online survey (2017–2018). DD was calculated as the difference between age at diagnosis and age at symptom onset reported by participants. Associations between DD and sociodemographic characteristics, as well as disease-related factors were explored through univariable and multivariable linear regression analysis. Results Average DD was 7.4  (8.4) years with a variation between countries. The variables associated with longer DD in the final multivariable regression model were: younger age at symptom onset (b = −0.26; 95% CI: −0.28, −0.23), female gender (b = 1.34; 95% CI: 0.73, 1.96) and higher number of health-care professionals (HCPs) seen before diagnosis (b = 1.19; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.43). There was a significant interaction between the female gender and the number of HCPs seen before diagnosis. A substantial variation of the DD across European countries was observed. Conclusion In this sample of axSpA patients, average DD was greater than 7 years. Younger age at symptom onset, female gender, higher number of HCPs seen before diagnosis, and being diagnosed by rheumatologist were the parameters associated with a longer DD in axSpA. These findings indicate a need for continuing efforts dedicated to recognition of patients with a high probability of axSpA on the level of non-rheumatology specialists and facilitating referral to a rheumatologist for timely diagnosis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (
Publisher: British Society for Rheumatology
ISSN: 1462-0324
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 June 2021
Date of Acceptance: 17 April 2021
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2022 14:12

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