Evaluation of lung function tests in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Background: Pulmonary manifestation is one of the most common extra-articular features in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) leading to significant morbidity. Lung function testing helps in identifying the type of respiratory defect. Early detection helps in effective management of the lung involvement in RA. Aims and Objectives: In this study, we compared the lung function of RA patient with the normal controls. Materials and Methods: Spirometry was performed in 100 participants (50 RA patients and 50 normal controls). Lung parameters such as forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s, forced expiratory flow in 25-75%, and peak expiratory flow rate were measured. Statistical analysis was performed, P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Result: In this study, restrictive ventilatory defect was seen in 64% of patients, and obstructive ventilatory defect was seen in 10% of patients. Pulmonary function abnormalities are common in asymptomatic rheumatoid patients which were found to be restrictive defect. Conclusion: Restrictive ventilatory defect may be due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis characterized by high levels of rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibody and deposits of immunoglobulin A, and complement on the alveolar wall. Screening of RA patients with spirometer helps in early detection of pulmonary involvement.
KEY WORDS: Rheumatoid Arthritis; Restrictive Defect; Spirometer
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of unknown etiology. It is characterized by symmetrical peripheral polyarthritis  associated with systemic involvement. There is an increase in rheumatoid factor level. It affects nearly 1% of population.  The participants with HLAD4 and HLADR4 are prone to develop RA. The female to male ratio is 3:1.  The incidence increases between 25 and 55 years of age reaching a plateau till the age of 75 years and decreases. Risk factors such as genetic factors, infectious agent, oral contraceptive pills, and smoking play a role in etiology. Extra-articular manifestations are more common. Pulmonary involvement seen in 30% of cases is mostly asymptomatic. It is because these patients are physically less active due to chronic pain and fatigue so less likely to develop breathlessness.  Pulmonary involvement contributes to morbidity and mortality in rheumatoid patients. It is the second common cause of death.  Pulmonary manifestations may be pleurisy, parenchymal nodule, interstitial lung disease, airway disease, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiolitis, and bronchiectasis.  Interstitial lung disease and alveolitis are seen in 40% of RA patients with high levels of rheumatoid factor titer which leads to respiratory failure. [5,6] Lung function was assessed by spirometry which is non-invasive and cost effective and helps in early diagnosis. It can be used to assess the prognosis of the respiratory involvement and provide a comfortable and healthy lifestyle.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study was performed in Department of Physiology and Rheumatology, Outpatient Department in SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre. The study was performed in 100 participants, 50 healthy controls and 50 RA patients. Information regarding respiratory symptoms, duration of disease, drug history, blood investigations such as RA factor, C-reactive protein, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide, and hemoglobin were obtained. Anthropometric measurements, physical examination, and assessment of lung function were performed on all the study participants. Lung function test was assessed by EasyOne Pro computerized spirometer.
The study was approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee. Written informed consent was obtained from all the participants.
* Proven RA patients on rheumatoid drugs (ARA Criteria, 2010)
* Absence of respiratory symptoms
* Age group--25-60 years.
* Age <25 years, >60 years
* Smokers, alcoholics
* Any previous respiratory and cardiac disease
* Previous significant chest injury.
The participant was made to relax and should wear comfortable loose clothing. The participant was made to sit comfortably and nose clip was applied on the nose. The spirette was kept in the mouth with the lips sealing around it. The participants were instructed to breathe calmly and care should be taken not to block or bite the spirette.
The participants were asked to do tidal breathing and fill the lungs completely and then asked to exhale as hard and fast as possible until the lungs were completely empty and inhale as hard and fast as possible till the end of the test. This test was repeated 2-3 times and the best value was taken for the result.
The data collected were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 21. Statistical analysis was performed using independent t-test to compare the lung function tests between the healthy controls (control group) and RA patients (experimental group). The P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
The study was performed in 100 participants (50 control group and 50 experimental group). 85% were female participants and 15% were male participants. Table 1 describes about the anthropometric values of our study population. The mean age of the experimental group is 41.96 [+ or -] 7.99 years. The mean height and weight are 156.7 cm and 61.46 kg, respectively. The mean body mass index is 24.5[+ or -] 6.0.
Table 2 shows the comparison of lung parameters between the control and experimental group. The mean of experimental group of forced vital capacity (FVC) was 2.2366 [+ or -] 0.59186, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) was 1.7594 [+ or -] 0.51072, FEV1/FVC was 0.79 [+ or -] 0.13, forced expiratory flow in 25-75% (FEF 25-75%) was 1.756 [+ or -] 0.93667, peak expiratory flow rate (PEF) was 4.1528 [+ or -] 1.45828, FIVC was 1.7936 [+ or -] 0.95744, and PIF was 2.1346 [+ or -] 1.35958 were significantly lower when compared with the control group.
Figure 1 shows the pie chart about the ventilatory defect. About 64% of rheumatoid patients had restrictive ventilatory defect and 10% of rheumatoid patients had obstructive type. About 26% had normal lung function.
In this study, the pulmonary functions were performed in 50 rheumatoid patients and compared them with normal controls.
Restrictive ventilatory defect is seen in 64% of rheumatoid patients with FEV1/FVC >70% and reduced vital capacity and total lung capacity.
Obstructive ventilatory defect is seen in 10% of rheumatoid patients since the FEV1/FVC <80% with increased residual volume and total lung capacity ratio.
Normal 26% Restrictive 64% Obstructive 10% Figure 1: Ventilatory defects in experimental group Note: Table made from bar graph.
Remaining 26% of participants were normal. Lung parameters such as FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, FEF 25-75%, PEF, and FIVC were significantly lower in rheumatoid patients when compared with normal controls.
Fuld et al.  found that the prevalence of pulmonary function abnormalities was higher in asymptomatic rheumatoid patients when compared with the reference population. Avnon et al.  noted restrictive pulmonary abnormalities in 25.6%, small airway disease in 14.6%, and obstructive in 27%. Cortet et al.  and Radoux et al.  found small airway obstruction is seen in 50% of cases with decrease in FEF 25-75%. There was associated increase in antinuclear antibody. 
Restrictive ventilatory defect may be due to activation of immune complexes in the alveolar walls. It results in the release of myeloperoxidase, collagenase, and elastase. There is destruction of lung tissue by phagocytosis and protease--Antiprotease imbalance preventing the lung expansion. Banks et al.  stated restrictive type of lung disease with reduction in mid-expiratory flow. Restrictive pattern was seen with reduction in FEV1/FVC ratio.  Gowdhaman et al.  reported restrictive type with decrease in vital capacity.
Bilgici et al.  and Vergnenegre et al.  noted obstructive type of lung disease. Vergnenegre et al.  reported a significant reduction in FEF 25-75%, FEV1/FVC. In RA, obstructive ventilatory defect may be due to airway inflammation. Plasma immunoglobulin E level increases. Neuropeptides and chemokines are released from eosinophils, and mast cell damages the airway epithelium and hyperresponsiveness. This results in partially reversible airway obstruction due to bronchial narrowing. Devouassoux et al.  found that there is airflow obstruction with decreased FEV1/FVC and hyperinflation with increased residual volume and total lung capacity ratio. Cimen et al.  found airway obstruction in 28% of cases. Hassan et al.  reported that airway obstruction may be due to mucosal edema as a result of airway inflammation which leads to bronchial narrowing.
The current study states that pulmonary manifestations are common in RA which is of restrictive type.
Pulmonary manifestations are one of the common extra-articular manifestation in RA. It is often asymptomatic. They can be evaluated with pulmonary function tests, chest radiography, and CT scan. In this study, restrictive ventilatory defect is more common than obstructive type. Pulmonary function test can be used as screening test for early detection of the abnormalities and disease activity.
We sincerely thank our participants who enthusiastically accepted to participate and devote their valuable time to the study. We thank Dr. Panchapakesan, Dr. S. Kanimozhi, and Department of Physiology, for rendering the support for the study.
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Kalyani Praba P (1), Thamarai Selvi K (1), Vijay Anand B (2), Saravanan A (1)
(1) Department of Physiology, SRM Medical College, Hospital & Research Institute, Kattankulathur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, (2)Department of Orthopedics, SRM Medical College, Hospital & Research Institute, Kattankulathur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Correspondence to: Kalyani Praba Premsundar, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: February 18, 2017; Accepted: March 03, 2017
How to cite this article: Kalyani Praba P, Thamarai Selvi K, Vijay Anand B, Saravanan A. Evaluation of lung function tests in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Natl J Physiol Pharm Pharmacol 2017;7(7):693-696.
Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: None declared.
Table 1: The anthropometric measurements Parameters Groups N Mean[+ or -]Standard deviation Height Control 50 163.4400[+ or -]6.87545 Experimental 50 156.7000[+ or -]7.98787 Weight Control 50 64.9200[+ or -]10.08300 Experimental 50 61.4600[+ or -]12.41002 BMI Control 50 24.1900[+ or -]3.63016 Experimental 50 24.5116[+ or -]6.00274 Age Control 50 39.1800[+ or -]5.79123 Experimental 50 41.9600[+ or -]7.99990 Parameters Independent t-test P value Height 4.522 0.0001 Weight 1.530 0.129 BMI 0.324 0.747 Age 1.990 0.049 BMI: Body mass index Table 2: The comparison of lung parameters Parameters Groups N Mean[+ or -]Standard deviation FVC Control 50 3.2302[+ or -]0.61001 Experimental 50 2.2366[+ or -]0.59186 FEV1 Control 50 2.7142[+ or -]0.51323 Experimental 50 1.7594[+ or -]0.51072 FEV1/FVC Control 50 0.8425[+ or -]0.07708 Experimental 50 0.7900[+ or -]0.13036 FEF 25-75% Control 50 2.9526[+ or -]0.74651 Experimental 50 1.7560[+ or -]0.93667 PEF Control 50 6.5024[+ or -]1.78818 Experimental 50 4.1528[+ or -]1.45828 FET Control 50 5.5380[+ or -]1.74799 Experimental 50 6.0146[+ or -]3.40398 FIVC Control 50 3.0764[+ or -]0.83833 Experimental 50 1.7936[+ or -]0.95744 PIF Control 50 3.7842[+ or -]1.43782 Experimental 50 2.1346[+ or -]1.35958 Parameters Independent t-test P value FVC 8.266 0.0001 FEV1 9.325 0.0001 FEV1/FVC 2.454 0.016 FEF 25-75% 7.064 0.0001 PEF 7.200 0.0001 FET 0.881 0.381 FIVC 7.128 0.0001 PIF 5.895 0.0001 FVC: Forced vital capacity, FEV1: Forced expiratory volume in 1 s, PEF: Peak expiratory flow rate, FET: Forced expiratory time, FEF 25-75%: Forced expiratory flow in 25-75%, FIVC: Forced inspiratory vital capacity, PIF: Peak inspiratory flow
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|Title Annotation:||RESEARCH ARTICLE|
|Author:||Praba P., Kalyani; Selvi K., Thamarai; Anand B., Vijay; A., Saravanan|
|Publication:||National Journal of Physiology, Pharmacy and Pharmacology|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2017|
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