The annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology was held from Oct. 19 to 24 in Chicago and attracted approximately 17,000 participants from around the world, including rheumatology specialists, physicians, scientists, and other health professionals. The conference featured presentations focused on the latest advances in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis as well as other rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.
In one study, Allen P. Anandarajah, M.B.B.S., of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, and colleagues found that specifically designed programs that use multi-dimensional approaches to help patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) navigate the health care system can decrease the number of avoidable hospitalizations and 30-day readmissions.
“There is a group of SLE patients who are at high risk for hospitalization. Most of these patients come from ethnic or racial minorities and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. In this group of patients, in addition to disease being more severe disease, social and behavioral factors also play a role in the increased risk for hospitalizations,” said Anandarajah. “Therefore, adopting measures to help overcome these social and behavioral issues can help decrease some of the avoidable hospitalizations and 30-day readmissions. Taking care of the disadvantaged or underserved populations can not only help improve the health of our communities but can help decrease health care costs over time.”
In another study, Perez Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D., of the Hospital Universitario Cruces in Spain, and colleagues found that gout patients who fail to reach the recommended European League Against Rheumatism and American College of Rheumatology serum urate target of less than 6 mg/dl have a more than twofold increased risk for premature mortality.
“We, as clinicians, should make any reasonable effort to get to target therapeutic serum urate levels, as we do for diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia to properly treat gout and also to reduce the risk of premature mortality,” said Ruiz.
Several authors disclosed ties to pharmaceutical companies.
Anthony M. Sammel, M.D., of Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, and colleagues evaluated the performance of positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) compared to temporal artery biopsy for the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA). The investigators found that a PET/CT scan including the head, neck, and chest arteries had high diagnostic accuracy for GCA.
“The diagnostic accuracy was high with a sensitivity of 92 percent, specificity of 85 percent, and negative predictive value of 98 percent. This performance compares well with recent large ultrasound and high-resolution scalp magnetic resonance imaging studies,” said Sammel.