Age does not affect disease activity, management in ankylosing spondylitis

“Ankylosing spondylitis in the geriatric population tends to be underrepresented in the literature,” Ahmed Omar, MD, of the University of Toronto, told Healio Rheumatology. “But the geriatric population is increasing worldwide. We need more research into this patient population.”

Omar and colleagues collected data from a longitudinal, Toronto-based cohort of patients with spondyloarthropathies. Geriatric patients were categorized as those at least 65 years of age and non-geriatric patients were those younger than 65 years. Data from a tertiary care orthopedics clinic in Toronto were used as an age-matched geriatric control group of patients without ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

“It is important to point out that this study did not aim to specifically look at ‘late onset AS,’” Omar said. “We aimed to develop a profile of patients who have AS and happen to be elderly, whether they developed the condition early or later in their lives.”

The investigators compared clinical and laboratory data between cohorts.

A total of 890 patients with AS were identified; 48 patients were classified as geriatric. The non-AS geriatric comparison group included 322 patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Preliminary comparisons between young and geriatric patients with AS demonstrated no differences in gender distribution, although geriatric patients with AS tended to be older at the time of diagnosis (P < .001). The younger population was diagnosed earlier than the elderly group, which may reflect greater disease awareness among physicians in recent years, according to the study results.

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