Identifying Parameters Associated with Delayed Diagnosis in Axial Spondyloarthritis: Data from the European Map of Axial Spondyloarthritis.

To identify the parameters associated with self-reported diagnostic delay (DD) in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) patients across Europe.Data from 2,652 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.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 to -0.23), female gender (b = 1.34, 95%CI 0.73-1.96) and higher number of healthcare 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 diagnostic delay across European countries was observed.In this sample of axSpA patients, average DD was greater than seven years. Younger age at symptom onset, female gender, and higher number of HCPs seen before diagnosis 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.


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Authors: Marco Garrido-Cumbrera, Victoria Navarro-Compán, Christine Bundy, Raj Mahapatra, Souzi Makri, José Correa-Fernández, Laura Christen, Carlos Jesús Delgado-Domínguez, Denis Poddubnyy, EMAS Working Group