A comparison of rural and urban rheumatoid arthritis populations

N Basu, M Steven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: There is evidence to suggest that remote populations have poorer clinical outcomes in certain disease processes such as asthma and cancer. This study looks to identify any disparities in the management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in the context of rurality. METHODS: A retrospective observational study was performed on all 1314 patients with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis who have been under the care of the principal rheumatologist at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, between the years 1994 and 2004 inclusive. Rurality was defined according to the Scottish Household Survey. Populations were assessed in terms of age; sex; duration of diagnosis; number of years of Disease Modifying AntiRheumatic Drugs (DMARD) therapy, prednisolone use and the number of musculoskeletal practical interventions undertaken (eg joint aspiration or replacement). RESULTS: Two thirds of patients were considered rural dwellers. No significant difference was established between the populations with regards to management. DMARD therapy had been prescribed in 77% of rural patients vs 70% of their city counterparts for a mean 5.4 and 4.0 years respectively. The proportion of patients exposed to prednisolone therapy and who underwent musculoskeletal procedures were equivalent. CONCLUSIONS: Rural dwellers, with rheumatoid arthritis in the Highlands of Scotland, do not appear to be disadvantaged in regards to their disease management in comparison to the urban population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-9
Number of pages3
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • adult
  • aged
  • aged, 80 and over
  • arthritis, rheumatoid
  • cohort studies
  • female
  • health services accessibility
  • humans
  • male
  • middle aged
  • retrospective studies
  • rheumatology
  • rural health
  • rural health services
  • Scotland
  • young adult


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