Study finds startling rates of joint surgery in psoriatic arthritis patients

There’s a psoriatic arthritis study out of Denmark with some troubling statistics. The researchers looked at the Danish National Patient Registry from 1996 to 2017, and compared joint surgery rates between almost 12,000 psoriatic arthritis patients, and more than 100,000 people without psoriatic arthritis used as “controls” for comparison purposes.

They found that people with psoriatic arthritis needed joint surgery at twice the rate of those in the general public. Among patients with psoriatic arthritis, 29% required joint surgery by 15 years after diagnosis, compared to 14.6% of the general population.

Another startling statistic: after 15 years of follow-up, the risk of joint surgery in psoriatic arthritis patients diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 40 was higher (22%) than in the 60+ year-old general population (20%).

With nearly one in three psoriatic arthritis patients needing joint surgery at some point after their initial diagnosis, the old notion that psoriatic arthritis is generally “mild” can be put to rest once and for all.

The hope is that with the emergence of biologics that can stop the progression of joint damage, the surgery rate will decline over time. This is what is emerging in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, who have been treated more aggressively with biologics than psoriatic arthritis patients, particularly in the early years of biologics.

The study, in the end, points to the need both to treat psoriatic arthritis more aggressively, and to reduce the under-diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. If you are a psoriasis patient who also has noticed joint pain or tenderness, morning stiffness, or nail psoriasis (a hallmark of psoriatic arthritis), tell your doctor or get yourself to a rheumatologist. You might have psoriatic arthritis.

[Last updated 11-2-2019]