Long-term improvement in axial spondyloarthritis clinical outcomes following 2-weeks of intensive education and rehabilitation: results from the Bath residential rehabilitation programme

Rosie Barnett, Anita McGrogan, Matthew Young, Charlotte Cavill, Mandy Freeth, Raj Sengupta

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review



Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) is a chronic rheumatic condition, characterised by inflammatory back pain - often associated with impaired function and mobility, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and reduced quality of life. Despite the vast advances in pharmacological treatments for axSpA over the last few decades, physical activity and rehabilitation remain vital for effective disease management. At the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath (RNHRD), the 2-week inpatient axSpA rehabilitation programme has been integral to axSpA care since the 1970’s. Prior research has demonstrated significant short-term improvements in spinal mobility (BASMI), function (BASFI) and disease activity (BASDAI) following course attendance. However, the long-term outcomes are yet to be evaluated in this unique cohort.


Since the early 1990’s, clinical measures of spinal mobility, function and disease activity have been routinely collected at the RNHRD at all clinical appointments through administration of the BASMI, BASFI and BASDAI, respectively. Dates of attending the axSpA course and standard clinical and treatment follow-up data were also collected. Multiple linear regression models were used to investigate the impact of course attendance on final reported BASMI, BASDAI and BASFI scores (final score=most recent). Length of follow-up was defined as time between first and last recorded BASMI.


Of the 203 patients within the Bath SPARC200 cohort, 77.8% (158/203) had attended at least one rehabilitation course throughout follow-up. 70.0% (140/203) of patients were male. The mean duration of follow-up was 13.5 years (range 0-35 years); 28.1% (57/203) of individuals with 20+ years of follow-up. Course attendance (yes versus no) significantly reduced final BASMI score by 0.84 (p = 0.001, 95%CI -1.31 to -0.37) and final BASDAI score by 0.74 (p = 0.018, 95%CI -1.34 to -0.13). Although course attendance reduced final BASFI by 0.45 (95%CI -1.17 to 0.28), this relationship did not reach significance (p = 0.225). Whilst minimally clinically important difference (MCID) is, to our knowledge, yet to be defined for BASMI, MCIDs were achieved long-term for both BASDAI and BASFI - defined by van der Heijde and colleagues in 2016 as 0.7 and 0.4 for BASDAI and BASFI, respectively.


These results provide novel evidence to support the integral role of education, physical activity and rehabilitation in the management of axSpA. Future work should investigate additional outcomes of critical importance to patients and clinicians, such as fatigue, quality of life and work productivity. Furthermore, a greater understanding of the factors that confound these outcomes may provide insights into those patients who may most benefit from attending a 2-week rehabilitation course. In addition to facilitating identification of those patients who may require additional clinical support.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberP181/keab247.176
Number of pages1
Issue numberSupplement 1
Early online date26 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


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