Outpatient Care Aspects of Rheumatic Patients in Latvia: Real Life Data in the Context of the First Month of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jūlija Zepa (Coresponding Author), Vladimirs Lavrentjevs, Santa Miķēna, Jānis Arajs, Tamāra Zavgorodnaja, Evita Sikora, Sarmīte Ābelīte, Renāte Diura, Ineta Balčune, Kristīne Ivanova, Pauls Rubīns, Ilva Trapiņa, Daina Andersone, Inita Buliņa

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The aim of this study was to analyse the rheumatic disease profile and treatment aspects of the patients consulted in the outpatient department of Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital during the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 March 13 till April 14. A total of 457 (76.04%) remote and 144 (23.96%) face-to-face consultations were analysed, totalling 601 patients: 434 (72.21%) females and 167 (27.79%) males with mean age 51.40 ± 14.73 years. Rheumatoid arthritis (223 (37.10%)), psoriatic arthritis (93 (15.47%)) and ankylosing spondylitis (80 (13.31%)) were the most frequently consulted conditions. Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or immunosuppressants (IS) were taken by 515 (85.69%) patients. These included synthetic DMARD (242 (46.99%)), mainly methotrexate; and biologic DMARD (156 (30.29%)), mainly tumour necrosis factor inhibitor. More than one-half of the cohort (427 (71.05%)) was not taking a glucocorticoid (GC). NSAIDs were used in 391 (65.08%) patients, mainly on demand (354 (90.54%)). Most patients (401 (66.72%)) had no comorbidities (hypertension, diabetes, malignancy and/or chronic respiratory disease). The profile of patients consulted in the outpatient department consisted mainly of middle-age females with autoimmune inflammatory arthritis treated by DMARD. Most of the patients did not use GCs, they did not regularly use NSAIDs and did not have comorbidities. Telemedicine is an acceptable way of care delivery for chronic rheumatic patients with previously known disease and treatment, especially during a pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Section B. Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • ambulatory
  • rheumatic profile
  • telemedicine
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • comorbidities

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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