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Assessment of impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases in Europe: results from the REUMAVID study (phase 1)

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RMD Open. 2021 Apr;7(1):e001546. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2020-001546.

Marco Garrido-Cumbrera 1 2Helena Marzo-Ortega 3 4Laura Christen 5Pedro Plazuelo-Ramos 2Dale Webb 6Clare Jacklin 7Shantel Irwin 8Laurent Grange 9 10Souzi Makri 11Elsa Frazão Mateus 12Serena Mingolla 13Katy Antonopoulou 14Sergio Sanz-Gómez 1José Correa-Fernández 1Loreto Carmona 15Victoria Navarro-Compán 16

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Abstract

Aim: To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs).

Methods: REUMAVID is a cross-sectional study using an online survey developed by an international multidisciplinary patient-led collaboration across seven European countries targeting unselected patients with RMDs. Healthcare access, daily activities, disease activity and function, well-being (WHO Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5)), health status, anxiety/depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)) and access to information were evaluated. Data were collected in April-July 2020 (first phase).

Results: Data from the first phase included 1800 patients with 15 different RMDs (37.2% axial spondyloarthritis, 29.2% rheumatoid arthritis, 17.2% osteoarthritis and others). Mean age was 53, 80% female and 49% had undertaken university studies. During the beginning of the pandemic, 58.4% had their rheumatology appointment cancelled and 45.6% reported not having received any information relating to the possible impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in their RMDs, with the main source being patient organisations (27.6%).Regarding habits, 24.6% increased smoking, 18.2% raised their alcohol consumption, and 45.6% were unable to continue exercising. Self-reported disease activity was high (5.3±2.7) and 75.6% reported elevated pain. Half the patients (49.0%) reported poor well-being (WHO-5) and 46.6% that their health had changed for the worse during lockdown. According to HADS, 57.3% were at risk of anxiety and 45.9% of depression.

Conclusion: Throughout the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with RMDs have experienced disruption in access to healthcare services, poor lifestyle habits and negative effects on their overall health, well-being and mental health. Furthermore, information on COVID-19 has not reached patients appropriately.