Recent Submissions

  • Utilizing clinical and non-clinical patient factors in predicting cardiovascular events in patients on JAK inhibitor therapy: a retrospective cohort study

    Sunmboye, Kehinde; Petrie, Tom; Salim, Hassan; Khan, Mutal (2023-11-10)
    Background: Patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) taking JAK inhibitors may have an increased risk of cardiovascular events, especially if they have other health conditions. Identifying high-risk patients can inform targeted preventive care. This study assessed the value of age and deprivation decile in predicting cardiovascular events in patients on JAK inhibitors for ARDs. Objective: To assess the predictive value of age and deprivation decile in identifying patients at risk of cardiovascular events while on JAK inhibitor therapy for ARDs. Methods: This cross-sectional cohort study enrolled 309 patients with ARDs (mean age 59.3 years, 77% female) treated with JAK inhibitors at a UK teaching hospital. Baseline characteristics, including age, gender, ethnicity, and comorbidities, were collected. Cardiovascular events (myocardial infarctions, strokes, and cardiovascular-related deaths) that occurred while on JAK inhibitor therapy were identified retrospectively. Deprivation indices were calculated using socioeconomic factors. Results: Multivariate logistic regression analysis, adjusting for potential confounders, showed that a model combining age and deprivation decile was statistically significant (p = 0.031) in predicting cardiovascular events. Neither age nor deprivation decile alone was statistically significant. Older patients had an odds ratio of 1.06 (95% CI: 1.00-1.13) for increased risk of cardiovascular events. The logistic regression model as a whole was statistically significant (Chi2(14) = 24.04, p = 0.031, n = 309). The AUC of the ROC curve was 0.837. Conclusion: Age and deprivation decile can effectively predict cardiovascular events in patients on JAK inhibitor therapy for ARDs. Incorporating these predictive tools into routine clinical practice can help identify patients who warrant intensified cardiovascular risk management.
  • Clinicians' interpretation of unreported chest radiographs in biologic prescription workup service: a comprehensive analysis

    Farman, Fatima; Murad, Awin Mohammed; Sunmboye, Kehinde (2023-11-15)
    Clinicians without a radiology specialization face difficulties when they attempt to interpret chest X-rays (CXRs), a crucial and extensively utilized diagnostic tool that plays a fundamental role in the detection of pulmonary and cardiovascular disorders. This cross-sectional study assessed the confidence and competence of clinicians, including junior specialty trainees, higher specialty trainees, and specialist nurses, in interpreting CXRs before starting biological treatment. An online survey was used to collect data from clinicians in various healthcare settings, focusing on their experience, training, confidence levels, and CXR interpretation proficiency. The survey uncovered clinicians' insufficient confidence in interpreting the pre-biological screening CXRs despite their clinical expertise. This uncertainty raises concerns about potential misinterpretations, affecting timely treatment decisions. A Kruskal-Wallis test indicated a significant difference between training levels required with a p-value of 0.001, rejecting the null hypothesis. Subsequently, a Dunn-Bonferroni test revealed that the higher specialty trainee-specialist nurse pair differed significantly, with the specialist nurse group requiring more training. This study highlighted the need for enhanced radiology education for clinicians involved in chest radiograph interpretation for pre-biological screening. Implementing a structured training program is essential to improve skills and ensure accurate interpretation of non-formally reported chest radiographs, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes and healthcare practices.
  • Chest x-ray reporting: a comparative study of specialist nurses and trainee doctors' knowledge in the biologic prescription service

    Sunmboye, Kehinde; Farman, Fatima; Murad, Awin Mohammed (2023-11-14)
    With all the challenges facing the NHS at the current time, specialist nurses are fundamental and an important part of an ever-expanding NHS workforce. Furthermore, specialist nurses now possess more diversity and a wide range of advanced skills. In the field of rheumatology in most NHS hospitals, specialist nurses play a key role in biologic services to ensure that patients are promptly started on biological therapy to control their disease. An important element of this workup is the ability to comment on an unreported chest radiograph to facilitate a biological prescription. Some studies have shown that there is limited expertise among non-doctors with the required skills to review unreported chest X-rays confidently. The authors of this paper sought to explore whether this is the case among specialist nurses involved in the biologic prescription service among other clinicians in the same service. An online questionnaire was designed by the authors, which included seven questions and responses collected on a 5-point Likert scale. Trainee doctors, non-trainee grade doctors, and specialist nurses who were involved in the biologic prescribing team from Rheumatology, Dermatology, and Gastroenterology were invited. A total of 56 responses were obtained and analyzed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were obtained from the data. To determine if there was a statistical difference between the responses of trainee doctors and specialist nurses, the Kruskal-Wallis statistical test was used, and a post hoc test using the Dunn-Bonferroni test was used to analyze any statistically significant results. Regarding chest X-ray interpretation prior to starting biological treatment, only 8% of specialist nurses reported being confident, whereas 63% of trainees reported being confident. The Kruskal-Wallis test revealed a significant difference between specialist nurses' and doctors' confidence in interpreting unreported chest radiographs. The P-value is 0.001; thus, with available data, the null hypothesis is rejected. A Dunn-Bonferroni test (post hoc test) showed that, based on the available data, it can be assumed that the two groups had different levels of confidence between Specialist Nurses and trainee doctors. Chest X-ray interpretation skills are vital for specialist nurses in the context of biological therapy prescriptions. Therefore, we recommend access to resources, ongoing formal training, and educational sessions to help specialist nurses maintain their advanced skill sets and broaden their scope of practice to those without the required expertise.
  • Cardiovascular safety of Janus Kinase inhibitor therapy in a multi-ethnic population

    Sunmboye, Kehinde; Petrie, Tom; Durrani, Maumer (2023-12-14)
    Background: Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors are a class of drugs that have been shown to be effective in treating a variety of autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs). However, there have been concerns about their potential to increase the risk of cardiovascular events. Some studies have found no ethnic differences. This study aimed to assess the cardiovascular safety of JAK inhibitor therapy in a large multi-ethnic patient cohort and to identify if there is a correlation between the age of patients in the cohort with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study enrolled 309 patients with ARDs who were treated with JAK inhibitors. Cardiovascular events that occurred while on JAK inhibitor therapy were identified retrospectively. Results: The mean age of the study cohort was 59.3 years, and 73% were Caucasian and 25% were South Asian in ethnicity. There was a positive and statistically significant correlation between cardiovascular events and age of the patients (rpb = 0.12, n = 309, p = 0.036), but the correlation was weak based on the rpb value of 0.12. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that JAK inhibitor therapy is generally safe in older patients with ARDs in a multi-ethnic population. However, further research is needed to identify any other patient factors that may increase the risk of cardiovascular events. The findings of this study could also have practise implications in the use of JAK inhibitor therapy in patients over 65 years of age.
  • Relapse after cessation of weekly tocilizumab for giant cell arteritis: a multicentre service evaluation in England

    Doddami, Parveen; Kinder, Alison (2023-11-11)
    Objectives: The National Health Service in England funds 12 months of weekly subcutaneous tocilizumab (qwTCZ) for patients with relapsing or refractory giant cell arteritis (GCA). During the COVID-19 pandemic, some patients were allowed longer treatment. We sought to describe what happened to patients after cessation of qwTCZ. Methods: Multicentre service evaluation of relapse after stopping qwTCZ for GCA. The log-rank test was used to identify significant differences in time to relapse. Results: 336 GCA patients were analysed from 40 centres, treated with qwTCZ for a median (interquartile range, IQR) of 12 (12-17) months. At time of stopping qwTCZ, median (IQR) prednisolone dose was 2 (0-5) mg/day. By 6, 12 and 24 months after stopping qwTCZ, 21.4%, 35.4% and 48.6% respectively had relapsed, requiring an increase in prednisolone dose to a median (IQR) of 20 (10-40) mg/day. 33.6% of relapsers had a major relapse as defined by EULAR. Time to relapse was shorter in those that had previously also relapsed during qwTCZ treatment (P = 0.0017); in those not in remission at qwTCZ cessation (P = 0.0036); and in those with large vessel involvement on imaging (P = 0.0296). Age ≥65, gender, GCA-related sight loss, qwTCZ treatment duration, TCZ taper, prednisolone dosing, and conventional synthetic DMARD use were not associated with time to relapse. Conclusion: Up to half our patients with GCA relapsed after stopping qwTCZ, often requiring a substantial increase in prednisolone dose. One third of relapsers had a major relapse. Extended use of TCZ or repeat treatment for relapse should be considered for these patients.
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy mimicking a cerebral vasculitis flare

    Hussain, Sharafath; Sunmboye, Kehinde (2023-06-28)
    We report a case of a 68-year-old woman with a background of primary cerebral vasculitis, which was diagnosed two years ago. She appeared to have had a recurrence of her symptoms with new onset history of expressive dysphasia, right-sided upper limb weakness, and right-sided facial weakness during a rheumatology clinic visit. The patient was on maintenance azathioprine for her cerebral vasculitis at the time of presentation. She had received a total of 2 g of rituximab through intravenous infusion, with a two-week interval between doses. Additionally, she had undergone intravenous cyclophosphamide treatment (15 mg/kg) following the standard vasculitis regimen for induction remission therapy, which was administered at the time of her diagnosis two years prior. Initial imaging on non-contrast computed tomography head after admission to the emergency department did not show any acute neurological findings. Further imaging studies revealed changes in the right parietotemporal white matter T2 hyperintensity with similar changes on the left frontal and left parietal lobes suggestive of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain conducted three months prior was found to be unremarkable. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing confirmed the presence of polyoma John Cunningham (JC) virus deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). This case highlights that PML should be an important differential to consider in any immunocompromised patient who presents with new stroke-like features.
  • Development and testing of a bespoke cultural intervention to support healthcare professionals with patients from a diverse background

    Moorthy, Arumugam (2023-07-28)
    Objective: Development and test of a culturally sensitive intervention for rheumatology healthcare professionals (HCPs). Methods: Using a before and after study design, fifteen HCPs were recruited to undertake the bespoke intervention from four NHS sites across England, in areas serving a diverse population. The intervention was evaluated using the validated outcomes: [1] Patient Reported Physician Cultural Competency (PRPCC); and [2] Patient Enablement Instrument (PEI), measuring patients' perceptions of their overall healthcare delivery. Additionally, HCPs completed the Capability COM-B questionnaire (C), Opportunity (O) and Motivation (M) to perform Behaviour (B), measuring behaviour change. Results: 200 patients were recruited before HCPs undertook the intervention (cohort 1), and 200 were recruited after (cohort 2) from fifteen HCPs, after exclusions 178 patients remained in cohort 1 and 186 in cohort 2. Patients identifying as White in both recruited cohorts were 60% compared with 29% and 33% of patients (cohorts 1 and 2 respectively) who identified as of South Asian origin. After the intervention, the COM-B scores indicated HCPs felt more skilled and equipped for consultations. No significant differences were noted in the average overall cultural competency score between the two cohorts in White patients (57.3 vs 56.8, p= 0.8), however, in the South Asian cohort, there was a statistically significant improvement in mean scores (64.1 vs 56.7, p= 0.014). Overall, the enablement score also showed a statistically significant improvement following intervention (7.3 vs 4.3, p< 0.001) in the White patients; and in the South Asian patients (8.0 vs 2.2, p< 0.001). Conclusion: This novel study provides evidence for improving cultural competency and patient enablement in rheumatology settings.
  • Ankle and foot: Focus on inflammatory disease

    Moorthy, Arumugam; Rennie, Winston
    The ankle and foot have numerous bones and complex joints that can be affected by several types of inflammatory arthritis with different patterns and various radiologic signs, depending on the phase of the disease. Involvement of these joints is most frequently seen in peripheral spondyloarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in adults and juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children. Although radiographs are a mainstay in the diagnostic process, ultrasonography and especially magnetic resonance imaging allow early diagnosis and are crucial diagnostic tools. Some diseases have typical features based on target populations (e.g., adults versus children, men versus women), but others may have overlapping imaging characteristics. We highlight key diagnostic features and describe appropriate investigations to guide clinicians toward the correct diagnosis and provide support during disease monitoring.
  • Cannabinoids in rheumatology: Friend, foe or a bystander?

    Jain, Nibha; Moorthy, Arumugam (2022-06)
    Objectives: Cannabinoids have gained popularity recently with special emphasis on their use for chronic pain. Although NICE guidelines advise against their usage for management of chronic pain, almost all rheumatologists encounter a few patients in their daily practice who either use them or are curious about them. We reviewed the mechanism of action of cannabinoids, current knowledge about their role in rheumatology and potential drug interactions with common drugs used in Rheumatology. We attempted to answer the question "If cannabinoids are friend, foe or just a mere bystander?" Methods: We adhered to a search strategy for writing narrative reviews as per available guidelines. We searched PubMed with the search terms "Cannabinoids", "Rheumatology" and "Chronic pain" for published articles and retrieved 613 articles. The abstracts and titles of these articles were screened to identify relevant studies focusing on mechanism of actions, adverse effects and drug interactions. We also availed the services of a musculoskeletal librarian. Results: Despite the NHS guidelines against the usage of cannabinoids and associated significant stigma, cannabinoids are increasingly used for the management of pain in rheumatology without prescription. Cannabinoids act through two major receptors CB1 and CB2, which are important modulators of the stress response with potential analgesic effects. Their role in various rheumatological diseases including Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia have been explored with some benefits. However, in addition to the adverse effects, cannabinoids also have some potential interactions with common drugs used in rheumatology, which many users are unaware of. Conclusion: While the current studies and patient reported outcomes suggest cannabinoids to be a "friend" of rheumatology, their adverse events and drug interactions prove to be a "Foe". We were unable to arrive at a definite answer for our question posed, however on the balance of probabilities we can conclude cannabinoids to be a "foe". Under these circumstances, a disease and drug focussed research is need of the hour to answer the unresolved question.
  • An update on the considerations for patients with rheumatic disease being treated with rituximab during the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential drug treatment strategies

    Moorthy, Arumugam
    Introduction: Over the last two decades, rituximab has become an increasingly popular drug in the treatment of a wide range of rheumatic diseases. However, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians face challenges in weighing risk against benefit in its use. Areas covered: A review of existing data was performed to examine the relationship between rituximab use, morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, and vaccine efficacy in patients with rheumatic diseases, aiming to guide clinicians in continued use of the medication and consider the direction of future research. A literature review was performed through a search of the PubMed database, using the terms ((SARS-CoV-2) OR (COVID-19)) AND (rituximab) AND (rheumatic), which generated an initial 55 results, with relevant articles then selected for inclusion. Expert opinion: In order to safeguard patients with an ongoing need for rituximab therapy, vaccination remains the primary concern. A target of performing booster doses 6 months after last rituximab dose is a reasonable estimate, which may be made more precise by use of B cell counts, although primary immunization should not be delayed. In those patients who remain seronegative, the use of newer antivirals and broadly neutralizing antibody infusions may help provide further safeguards.
  • Giant cell arteritis with normal inflammatory markers

    Habib, Mohammad Bilal; Riaz, Afifa (2022-07)
  • Survey on the impact of COVID19 in patients on immunosuppression for ocular and orbital inflammatory disorders

    Thomas, Mervyn; Kumar, Periyasamy; Islam, Tahir; Sivagnanasithiyar, Tharsica; Betteridge, Carol; Moorthy, Arumugam; Kapoor, Bharat
  • Lifestyle modification and inflammation in people with axial spondyloarthropathy-A scoping review

    Moorthy, Arumugam
    Introduction: People with axial spondyloarthritis (AS) have an inflammatory profile, increasing the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dyslipidaemia. Consequently, AS is linked with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). Physical inactivity, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity influence inflammation, but knowledge of the interaction between these with inflammation, disease activity, and CVD risk in AS is dominated by cross-sectional research. Methods: A review of the literature was conducted between July 2020 and December 2021. The focus of the scoping review is to summarise longitudinal and randomised control trials in humans to investigate how tracking or modifying lifestyle influences inflammation and disease burden in patients with AS. KEY MESSAGES: (1) Lifestyle modifications, especially increased physical activity (PA), exercise, and smoking cessation, are critical in managing AS. (2) Smoking is negatively associated with patient reported outcome measures with AS, plus pharmaceutical treatment adherence, but links with structural radiographic progression are inconclusive. (3) Paucity of data warrant structured studies measuring inflammatory cytokine responses to lifestyle modification in AS. Conclusion: Increased PA, exercise, and smoking cessation should be supported at every given opportunity to improve health outcomes in patients with AS. The link between smoking and radiographic progression needs further investigation. Studies investigating the longitudinal effect of body weight, alcohol, and psychosocial factors on disease activity and physical function in patients with AS are needed. Given the link between inflammation and AS, future studies should also incorporate markers of chronic inflammation beyond the standard C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate measurements.
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis-like lupus

    Roberts, Elizabeth; Melchionda, Veronica; Saldanha, Gerald; Shaffu, Shireen; Royle, Jeremy; Harman, Karen
    Toxic epidermal necrosis (TEN)-like lupus is a rare condition characterized by epidermal loss and mucosal ulceration occurring in patients with acute severe flares of systemic lupus erythematosus. The clinical picture may mimic drug-induced Stevens-Johnson syndrome/TEN; however, the absence of a suitable culprit drug, and the context of acute lupus point to the correct diagnosis. In a case series of three patients, further discriminating features included a slower onset of epidermal loss, more limited mucosal ulceration and a lack of ocular involvement when compared with drug-induced TEN. Histology may show similar features, including basal layer vacuolation, apoptosis and full-thickness epidermal necrosis. Patients with TEN-like lupus may have additional features of lupus, and a lupus band on direct immunofluorescence. It is important to identify this condition correctly, so that these patients can be appropriately managed with early input from Rheumatologists and prompt treatment with high-dose combined immunosuppressant therapy.