Clinical profile of rheumatoid arthritis associated interstitial lung disease at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a retrospective 5 year review.
Ghammo, Hosam Mohamed.
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Background: The prevalence, demographic distribution and treatment outcomes in Rheumatoid Arthritis associated interstitial lung disease (RA-ILD) has not been well described in Southern Africa. There is very limited data. Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the demographic profile of the disease as well as treatments used and their outcomes at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH), a tertiary hospital in Durban, South Africa. Methods. This was a retrospective electronic chart review of 61 patients who were diagnosed with RA-ILD between January 2010 and December 2015 at IALCH pulmonology clinic. Demographic and clinical data, symptom presentation, pulmonary function testing (PFT), high resolution computerised tomography (HRCT) features and treatment modalities were analysed as well as outcome based on symptoms, PFT and HRCT. Results. There were 61 subjects, the majority being female (90.2%). Approximately 86.9% were 50 years and older. The majority of the subjects were Indian 72.1% (n=44), followed by Black Africans 23% (n=14) and then Whites 4.9% (n=3). All patients were HIV negative. Patients treated with a combination of prednisone and azathioprine had a decline in FVC (mean 0.41, p value 0.04). There was no improvements or deterioration in patients treated with either drug alone. Conclusion. The management of RA-ILD is still a challenge. The combination of azathioprine and prednisone did not arrest disease progression in our study while either agent alone did not improve clinical and lung function parameters. Large randomised control studies are needed in Sub-Saharan Africa.