ASAS CONSENSUS DEFINITION OF EARLY AXIAL SPONDYLOARTHRITIS
Authors: V. Navarro-Compán et al.
As in other rheumatic diseases early treatment of SpA is important to prevent disease progression. To study early disease stages a definition of early peripheral and axial SpA is needed. A working group of the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Association (ASAS) has set up such a definition in a process including a systematic literature review and a Delphi process involving the ASAS members. For a definition of early axSpA a consensus was reached, that axial symptoms (spinal pain / buttock pain or spinal morning stiffness) with a symptom duration of ≤2 yrs, considered by a rheumatologist as related to axSpA, should be sufficient to fulfil the definition. Importantly, the definition is valid regardless of radiographic evidence of sacroiliac joint damage or syndesmophytes.
There is increasing interest in studying early disease stages in axSpA. A definition of early axSpA is of great importance for research. Although not of clinical relevance at this time, using the new definition of early axSpA in clinical studies may lead to evidence supporting treatment decisions and management of patients with early stages of axSpA.