Employment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis - a systematic review and meta-analysis

Lilli Kirkeskov*, Katerina Bray

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningpeer review


BACKGROUND: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have difficulties maintaining employment due to the impact of the disease on their work ability. This review aims to investigate the employment rates at different stages of disease and to identify predictors of employment among individuals with RA.

METHODS: The study was carried out according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines focusing on studies reporting employment rate in adults with diagnosed RA. The literature review included cross-sectional and cohort studies published in the English language between January 1966 and January 2023 in the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library databases. Data encompassing employment rates, study demographics (age, gender, educational level), disease-related parameters (disease activity, disease duration, treatment), occupational factors, and comorbidities were extracted. Quality assessment was performed employing Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Meta-analysis was conducted to ascertain predictors for employment with odds ratios and confidence intervals, and test for heterogeneity, using chi-square and I2-statistics were calculated. This review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020189057).

RESULTS: Ninety-one studies, comprising of a total of 101,831 participants, were included in the analyses. The mean age of participants was 51 years and 75.9% were women. Disease duration varied between less than one year to more than 18 years on average. Employment rates were 78.8% (weighted mean, range 45.4-100) at disease onset; 47.0% (range 18.5-100) at study entry, and 40.0% (range 4-88.2) at follow-up. Employment rates showed limited variations across continents and over time. Predictors for sustained employment included younger age, male gender, higher education, low disease activity, shorter disease duration, absence of medical treatment, and the absence of comorbidities. Notably, only some of the studies in this review met the requirements for high quality studies. Both older and newer studies had methodological deficiencies in the study design, analysis, and results reporting.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings in this review highlight the prevalence of low employment rates among patients with RA, which increases with prolonged disease duration and higher disease activity. A comprehensive approach combining clinical and social interventions is imperative, particularly in early stages of the disease, to facilitate sustained employment among this patient cohort.

Antal sider24
TidsskriftBMC Rheumatology
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 14 nov. 2023

Bibliografisk note

© 2023. The Author(s).


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