Rheumatism in Pregnancy
The Rheumatology Reproductive Health Clinic
Established in 2013 between Rheumatology OLH/St. Vincent’s Hospital and Maternal Medicine at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles St. has reported outcomes of the first four years of service development and research. The clinic is a multidisciplinary body led by dedicated nurses, doctors and allied health professionals that aim to improve the standard of care for women with rheumatic diseases who are planning a family. The clinic aims to identify patient’s needs and to ensure a multidisciplinary approach to optimise good disease control at each stage of pregnancy.
A total of 98 women attended the clinic from January 2013-2016 with the majority suffering from rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. There were 24 women on biologic DMARD therapy at time of conception and 38% continued these throughout the pregnancy. There were a total of 76 births. Following a patient survey, 90% of the women involved were “very satisfied” with the standard of care and physical and emotional support they received in the clinic. The data indicates towards the success of the clinic and the need for a multidisciplinary approach at all stages of pregnancy in women with rheumatic diseases.
The results from this study are to be presented at the 2018 EULAR conference in Amsterdam.
CARD Awarded EULAR Centre of Excellence Status
CARD is recognised as a EULAR Centre of Excellence in Rheumatology, the first of its kind in Ireland. It was awarded such status in 2014 by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), a blanket organisation that represents health professionals, patients and national societies of rheumatism across the EU.
Changing the narRAtive
Pfizer launched a worldwide initiative in 2014 to better understand disease management in RA and to improve physician-patient relationships. The campaign, known as the RA NarRAtive, was conducted across 15 countries by means of online patient and physician surveys. The primary aim of the RA NarRAtive was to highlight the importance of the patient in the successful management of RA.
In Ireland, 176 patients, who attend a rheumatologist, completed the survey and the results revealed that a large proportion of patients worry about their quality of life as a result of RA. The survey found 64% of patients worry about the damage RA is causing their joints, while 65% worry about the possibility of becoming disabled. Of the patients who take prescription medications, 77% wish they could take less. In terms of disease management and future goals, 68% of patients aim to reduce fatigue, 63% would like to reduce pain and 56% would like to be able to carry out daily tasks more comfortably.
The report highlighted the importance of the relationship between the patient and their physician, with 78% of patients stating that they turn to healthcare professionals for information and advice on managing the disease.
Speaking at the launch of the research findings in Ireland, Prof Douglas Veale of CARD and Consultant Rheumatologist at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, said: “This research is incredibly insightful and a welcome development in identifying the needs of RA patients. As a physician, I am always keen to understand patient feedback, their concerns and requirements. The patient feedback indicates the need to determine an effective, collaborative relationship between patients and their RA physician to work together to better manage RA. It is vital that RA patients are presented with treatment options and there is a need for ongoing development into new, innovative treatments.”
Prof. Ursula Fearon is an established Chair of Rheumatology and was appointed to Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in 2015.
Read here to find out more about her research interests and expertise.