The aim is To analyze the prevalence of preexisting palindromic rheumatism (PR) in patients with established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to evaluate whether these patients have a distinctive clinical and serological phenotype.

Cross-sectional study in patients with established RA. Preexisting PR was determined using a structured protocol and confirmed by retrospective review of medical records. Demographic, clinical, radiological, immunological, and therapeutic features were compared in patients with and without PR.

Included were 158 patients with established RA (78% female) with a mean disease duration since RA onset of 5.1 ± 2.7 years. Preexisting PR was recorded in 29 patients (18%). The median time from the onset of PR to progression to RA was 1.2 years. No between-group differences in demographic features, current disease activity, radiographic erosive disease, or disability were observed. Patients with PR had a higher prevalence of smoking (72% vs 40%). Positive rheumatoid factor, anticitrullinated peptide antibodies, and anticarbamylated protein antibodies were numerically higher in patients with PR. No differences in treatment were observed except for greater hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) use in patients with PR (38% vs 6%). Palindromic flares persisted in a significant proportion of patients during the RA course, including patients in clinical remission or receiving biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

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